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liittiiiiiiii 



The registration of this \york has 
not heen possible. The copl^ ^"^wv^ 
4f^ therefore passed to the Order Di- 
vision for filing on the shelves of 
the Libray of Congress. 




Class. 
Book. 







WILLIAM E. W. YERBY. 



HISTORY 



OF 



Greensboro, Alabama 



FROM ITS 



EARLIEST SETTLEMENT 



BY 



William Edward Wadsworth Yerby 




Montgomery, Ala. : 

The Paragon Press 

1908. 






4lo 



Entered according to the act of Congress, in the year 1908, by 
Wm. E. W. Yerby, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at 
Washington. 



Copy right Office. 



MK i . 1911 



V 

^ 



I \ 



THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY 
DEDICATED 

^0 tfjc iWemorp of tfje Ancient jTorefatfterjl: — 

AND ALSO 

TO THE PRESENT CITIZENS OF GREENSBORO, ALABAMA, 

AND 

TO THE SUCCEEDING GENERATION. 



Introduction 



For some years past the author has purposed writing a His- 
tory of Greensboro, Alabama, and has devoted much time and 
labor to gathering and verifying data, with that end in view. 

The facts relative to the early history of the town were obtained 
from the late Henry Watson, Esq., for a long period a citizen 
of this place, but who, soon after the close of the war between 
the States, moved to Northampton, Mass., where he died sev- 
eral years since. He was a gentleman who took more than a 
passing interest in events, and made notes of all important occur- 
rences concerning the town. He kindly favored the author of 
these lines with the notes he had taken during his residence here. 

From the late Col. John G. Harvey, the late Samuel G. Briggs, 
Col. George Erwin and Mr. Robert B. Waller much valuable in- 
formation was derived. Various other sources were laid under 
tribute — files of old newspapers, ancient records, and interviews 
with old citizens. Of course, much of the more recent history 
of the town is from personal knowledge. 

These pages have not been penned with any hope of reaping 
pecuniary reward, but because of a sincere desire to preserve the 
histoiy of the author's native town in a more tangible form than 
the mere recollection of its citizens. 

The attention of the reader is especially directed to the fact 
that the book does not purport to be biographical in its character, 
and in all cases — except in a few rare instances — the "personal"' 
is eschewed. Men are dealt with only as they are, or have been,, 
connected with some particular incident or institution. 

THE AUTHOR. 

Greensboro, Alabama, April 1908. 



Table of Contents 



CHAPTER I. 

GREENSBORO, ALABAMA^Early Settlement— Russell's Ride— 
• Names of First Settlers — Greensboro First Known as Troy — 
Log Huts as Residences — Coming of the Preachers — Who 
They Were— First Mail Brought From Cahaba by S. G. 
Briggs-^Appearance of This Section in the Early Days. 
Page 1 — 6 

CHAPTER II. 

FIRST HOUSES— Built by John Nelson Silas Baggett and others 
— Where Located — The Jackson Road — To New York on 
Horseback — Location of Troy Changed-<^Original Survey — ■ 
Village Known as Troy Until 1823— Rapid Growth of Town 
■ — Character of Buildings — First Lawyers — Ezekiel Pickens, 
John Erwin and W. C. Chapman — Manner of Travel-r-How 
Merchandise Was Brought to Greensboro — Col. John G. 
Hai"vey — His Trip to New York on Horseback — Financial 
Crisis of 1825 and 1837— Effect on Business— How a Wife- 
Beater Was Made to Mend Mis Ways — Rode Him on a 
Rail Page 7—13 

CHAPTER III. 

THE PASSING OF TROY— First Charter for Greensboro— Horse 
Racing — How It Was Broken Up — Lapse of Charter — Re- 
vived in January, 1832 — Powers Granted — Corporate 
Limits — McAlpine Addition — Original Notice of Sale of 
Lots — Early Social Life — Influence of the French Upon 
Society — J. J. Cluis, Aide to Famous Marshal Lefebvre, a 
Hotel Keeper in Greensboro — Character of Entertain- 
ments Page 14 — 19 



TABLE OF CONTENTS ix 

CHAPTER IV. 

WEST GREENSBORO— The Old Red House— Yet in Existences- 
Cutting Down of a Tree Occasion of Intendant Being Hung 
in Effigy — Amendment of Charter — Building of Callaboose 
— Hale County's Jail a Present From Greensboro — Old Mar- 
ket House — Act Incorporating Southern University — 
Whiskey Forbidden to be Sold in Certain Territory — Entire 
County of Hale Became Prohibition Territory January, 1887 
— Extension of Corporate Limits — Extent of Present Cor- 
porate Limits Page 20 — 24 

CHAPTER V. 

^ GINNING AND MARKETING COTTON— Shipping Point— Sport 
in the Old Days— Tragedy in 1833— Killing of Dr. Hellen. 
, Page 25—28 

CHAPTER VI. 

/ DIVISION OF GREENSBORO IN EARLY YEARS— The White 
Settlement — The Black Settlement — Dogsboro — Territory 
Embraced in Each — Gambling and Horse-Racing Common 
Amusements — Princely Gambling — A Thrilling Story of a 
Game in Which $60,000 Was to be Won or Lost at a Single 
Throw of the Dice Page 29—35 

CHAPTER VII. 

y NEWSPAPERS— First Paper— The Halcyon— Extract From Is- 
sue of April, 1824 — The Patriot — No Personal Mention in 
Papers of That Period — Lady's Name Only Appeared in 
Print Twice. When She Married and When She Died— The 
Greene County Sentinel — The Alabama Beacon — The Ala- 
bama Republican — The Beacon Light of Liberty — The 
Greene County Gazette — The Greensboro Watchman — The 
Greensboro Record — Recapitulation Page 36 — 41 



X HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

THE GREENSBORO GUARDS— Complete List of Original Com- 
pany—Left Greensboro May 1st, 1861— Col. Allen C. 
Jones — Officers in the War From Greensboro and Hale 
County — Company of Boys Organized in 1864 — Those Who 
Composed Company — After the War — The Women of the 
Confederacy — Their Devotion and Sacrifices in Behalf of the 
Cause — Mexican War Veterans Page 42 — 50 

CHAPTER IX. 

THRILLING INCIDENT OF RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD— 
Federal Soldier Killed by "Tood" Cowin — Another Wounded 
by Tom Cowin — Escape of "Tood Cowin" — Reign of Pande- 
monium — Greensboro at the Mercy of Maddened Federal 
Troops — Timely Arrival of Colonel of the Regiment — Atti- 
tude of Present Generation to the Union Page 51 — 60 

THE KU KLUX KLAN — Organized as Answer to Loyal League — 
First Notice of Appearance in Greensboro — Efforts of Fed- 
eral Government to Disband the Organization — What the 
Ku Klux Accomplished Page 61 — 64 

CHAPTER X. 

CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS— First Was Completed March, 
1872 — Cost $204.50 — Account of Dedication — Second Mon- 
ument — Completed April, 1904 — Cost About $1500 — Loca- 
tion — Dedicatoiy Exei-cises Page 65 — 68 

CHAPTER XL 

RAILROAD — Projected by Gen. N. B. Forrest^Greensboro Issued 
$15,000 in Bonds to Aid in Construction — Hale County Is- 
sued $60,000 For Like Purpose — Completed to Greensboro 
November, 1870 — Event Celebrated by Barbecue and Speak- 
ing — Gen. Forrest Present — Completed to Akron in 1882 — 
Gen. N. B. Forrest — Personal Appearance — An Amusing 
Incident in Connection with the Signing of the Hale County 
Railroad Bonds — The Judge "Yanked" From the Bench by 
the General — Daring Cavalry Leader — Conduct at Ebenezer 
Church — Several Greensboro Men Members of Forrest Cav- 
alry Page 69—72 



TABLE OF CONTENTS xi 

BANKS — Planters Insurance Company — Organization and Offi- 
cers — D. F. McCrary — A. Lawson — J. B. Coleman — M. 
Jones & Son — Shelby W. Chadwick — Bank of Greensboro — 
Lee M. Otts — First National Bank — People's Bank. 

COTTON WAREHOUSES— First Established— Second Built 
From Materials From Old Nelson Mansion — Its Destruc- 
tion by Fire — Third Building Page 72 — 77 

CHAPTER XII. 

GREENSBORO FEMALE ACADEMY— Trustees— Building En- 
larged — Incorporation — Presidents — Title to Property 
Vested in Trustees — Closed in 1900 — Greensboro Graded 
School Using Building Page 78 — 80 

FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL— Taught by M. H. Yerby— Location of 
School House in 1869— List of Pupils Enrolled For That 
Year— Old House Still Standing Page 80—83 

CHAPTER XIII. 

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY— Founding of School— First Board 
of Trustees — Endowment — Laying of Corner Stone in 1857 
— First Session Opened 1859 — Dark Days — The Renaisance 
—List of Presidents — List of Faculty Page 85 — 90 

CHAPTER XIV. 

CHURCHES— Methodist Episcopal, South— Baptist— St. Paul's 
Episcopal — Presbyterian — History of Each From Founda- 
tion Page 91—105 

CHAPTER XV. 

LODGES— Masonic, Washington No. 17— Lafayette No. 26— Royal 
Arch Chapter — Phoenix No. 11 — Phoenix No. 121 — Knights 
of Pythias, Eureka No. 29— Odd Fellows, Lodge No. 11. 
Page 107—115 



xii HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

MODERN GREENSBORO— J. A. Blunt— First Houses Built Af- 
ter the War — First Brick Store — Lewis Lawson — Richard 
Andrews-— Effects of Birmingham Boom of 1886-87 — Steady 
and Substantial Growth Page 117 — 123 

CHAPTER XVII. 

WATER WORKS— First Water Supply— The Old Wells— First 
Steps Towards Getting Artesian Water — Charles E. Waller 
—Establishment of Water Works Page 125—127 

' ELECTRIC LIGHTS— When and by Whom Established— Present 
Ownership — Artesian Wells Page 127 — 128 

) FIRE COMPANIES— First Organization— List of Members. 
Page 130—131 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

COURT HOUSE AND JAIL— Creation of Hale County— Vote on 

" Location of Court House — Old Salem Baptist Church — New 

Court House — Bond Issues — Contract Let — First Session of 

Court Held in New Building April, 1908 Page 133—136 

, GRAVES AND GRAVEYARDS— Many Scattered Graves— Dead 
of Troy — The May Graveyard — Burial Place of General 
Patrick May — His Bravery in the War With Indians — A Ro- 
mance — Old Stokes Graveyard — Much Bad Feeling Over Re- 
moval of Burial Site Page 136—142 

CHAPTER XIX. 

CLIMATOLOGY OF GREENSBORO— Situation— Elevation- 
Weather Obsei-vers — Record Began in 1855 — Average Tem- 
pei-atures — Rainfall — Table Showing Annual Fall For 
Thirty-Five Years— The Moundville Cyclone. Page 143—146 



TABLE OF CONTENTS xiii 

CHAPTER XX. 

YELLOW FEVER— Death of a Number of Excellent Citizens- 
Names of Those Who Died That Year Page 147 — 148 

A TRIPLE MURDER— The Murder of John A. Singley and 
Family — Most Shocking Tragedy in History of the 
County - Page 148—154 

CHAPTER XXL 

POSTOFFICE— First Established in 1818— List of Postmasters- 
First Money Order Issued — Rural Free Delivery — Hatch- 
Sanborn Incident — Truth Stranger Then Fiction — How An 
Innocent Person Came Near Being Made to Suffer for the 
Guilty — Dangers in Circumstantial Evidence — Celebrated 
Case Page 155—163 

CHAPTER XXIL 

GOVERNORS OF ALABAMA— Greensboro Has Furnished Three 
— Israel Pickens, John Gayle, Thomas Seay — Other State 
Officials — Convict Inspector, Wm. D. Lee — Railroad Com- 
missioner, Wiley C. Tunstall Page 164 — 165 

PROMINENT LAWYERS— Some of Those Who Formerly Resid- 
ed in Greensboro Page 166 

RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON— His Remarkable Career. 
Page 168—171 

CHAPTER XXIIl. 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES— Some of the Citizens Who Have 
Passed the Allotted Three Score and Ten Years— Mrs. M. 
D. Lightfoot— Mrs. M. L. Nutling— Mrs. Eliza A. Tunstall 
—Mrs. S. A. Kimbrough— Mrs. Mary J. Happel— Mrs. Mary 
W. Wadsworth— Mrs. Margaret C. Gulley— Mrs. Elizabeth 
Ward — Dr. R. H. Cobbs— Hon. George Erwin— Mrs. M. C 
Keady— Rev. E. M. Turner— Thomas F. Stickney — The 
Famous Marshal Lefebvre — Wm. A. Avery — Thos. J. Kin- 
naird — John M. Croom — Names of a Number of Peo- 
ple Who Formerly Resided in Greensboro Page 172 — 187 



xiv HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

CHAPTER OF MISCELLANIES— Mention of Many Things of 
Interest — Mayors — Marshals — Night Watchmen — Accidental 
Killing — Physicians — Population — Burning of Greene Coun- 
ty Court House — First Ribbon Cane — First Appearance of 
English Sparrows — Cotton Worms — First United States 
Flag After the War— Practical Joke of the Old Days— Tel- 
ephones — Telegraph Lines — Authors — Nut Grass — Dr. R. C. 
Randolph — Planters — Cherted Street — Cotton Oil Mill — 
Public Halls— Conclusion 188 — 200 



List of Illustrations 



Andrews, Allen S 87 

Artesian Well 129 

Baptist Church 96 

Blunt, Jeffries A 116 

Cahaba, Old Site of 5 

Chilton, Rev. Thomas 97 

Cobbs, Richard Hooker 177 

Confederate Monument, (old) 15 

Confederate Monument, (new) 65 

Court House, (new) 132 

Court House, (old) 135 

Dorman Block 119 

Episcopal Church 101 

Erwin, John 10 

Female Academy 78 

Forrest Nathaniel Bedford 70 

Gayle, John 164 

Greensboro Hotel 60 

Hale Col. Stephen F 133 

Harvey, John Gaillord 36 

Hobson, Richmond Pearson 167 

Jones, Allen C 12 

Lightfoot, Mrs. M. D 172 

Methodist Church 106 

Main Street, View Looking East 146 

Main Street, View Looking West 118 

Moore Sydenham 45 

Oldest Building 20 

Old Store Building on Main Street 53 

Old Graveyard of French Refugees 142 

Old Public School House 82 

Old Singley Bam 150 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xvi 

Opera House Block 119 

Peck, Frederick, Tomb of 137 

Peterson, Francis Marion 189 

P/esbyterian Church 103 

Residence of late John A. Singley 152 

Residence of the Author 124 

Seay, Thomas 165 

Southern University - 84 

Spinning Wheel 199 

Stokes, Graveyard, View of 140 

Waller, Charles E 126 

Ward, Dr. Thomas R 112 

Watson, Henry 74 

Webb, James D 50 

Yerby, Wm. E. W Frontispiece 




Chapter I 



GREENSBORO, ALABAMA— EARLY 
SETTLEMENT. 

It was in the year 1816 that the first settlements were 
made in and around what is now known as Greensboro, 
Alabama. The pioneers came from Georgia, Tennessee, 
Kentucky, North and South Carolina. 

Andrew, Caleb and Isaac Russell, three brothers, came 
from Baldwin county, Georgia, in 1816, and located some 
three to four miles east of the present court house, on 
the Marion road, and so far as can be ascertained, were 
the first white people to settle in this immediate section. 
Caleb and Isaac Russell resided here for a few years, and 
then moved to Big Black, Miss. Andrew Russell remain- 
ed after the removal of his brothers, but in a year or two 
removed, with his large family of children, to near Prov- 
idence church in Perry county. The place near Greens- 
boro where the Russells first located was for many years 
known as "Russell's Ridge." 

It was also in the year 1816 that John Herran settled 
three miles south of the present town, near the 'Tick- 
ens Place," now owned by L. J. Lawson. He died in 
Newbern, Ala., in October, 1894, at the age of 86 years, 
and was buried in the Herran graveyard, situated near 
the spot where he first located in 1816. 



2 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

The next year — 1817 — a number of others took up 
their abode in and around the present corporate limits 
of the town, among them being Frederick Peck, Edwin 
Peck, Anthony Kinard, Joseph Nail, Joseph Middle- 
brooks, William Lovell, Louis Stephens, Lawrence Carr, 
Benjamin Baldwin, James Yeates, Jason Candy, Shelby 
Cozine, Silas Baggett, M. Kinard, Messrs. Bennett, Davis, 
McConnico, Hopkins, Caldwell and Holifield. 

These early settlers soon built up a small village 
near where the Southern University now stands, to which 
they gave the name of Troy. Jason Candy was the first 
merchant in the new village, or in fact, in the county of 
Greene. He is the same Candy that established the for- 
merly well known "Candy's Landing" on the Warrior 
river. 

Frederick and Edwin Peck were among the earliest 
merchants of Troy, and became, in the after years, quite 
wealthy and prominent citizens of this section. The Pecks 
were for a long while residents of Greensboro. The fam- 
ily graveyard is near the former home of Frederick Peck 
— the lot now owned and occupied by Mrs. W. W\ Powers. 

John and Peter Stokes were also among the earlier 
settlers. They resided near the Murphy place on Tusca- 
loosa street, and owned hundreds of acres of land in that 
locality. 

In these early times the country in and around Greens- 
boro was an unbroken forest of primeval oaks, hickory, 
chestnut and pine. Caldwell creek was a large and beau- 
tiful stream, whose waters afforded abundant fish to all 
who cared to catch them. Game was plentiful — there be- 
ing numbers of deer, an occasional bear, wild turkeys, 
and birds of all kinds. Indians frequently passed through 
this section. In fact, to the north, where Havana is now 
located, the then forest covered hills were still in pos- 
session of the savages, and large numbers of them re- 
sided there for several years after the settlement of 
Greensboro. 



COMING OF THE PREACHERS 3 

The low places to be seen in and around the Greensboro 
of today — the depressions on Tuscaloosa street, the one 
where is now located the water works, and the one west 
of the colored Baptist church — were extensive reed 
brakes, into which cattle frequently went never to come 
out alive, on account of the boggy nature of the soil. The 
reed brake extended as far up as Main street from the 
depression in the rear of the Moore buildings. 

The early settlers went industriously to work to erect 
houses in which to live. To be sure they were very rude 
affairs — typical log huts — and as for furniture, they had 
none — only that they made themselves. For bedsteads 
they bored holes in the logs of their cabins, into which 
were driven pieces of wood, across which boards were 
laid ; a three-legged stool for each member of the family, 
and a high bench for a table was the sum total of the 
furnishings for the houses. However, the inhabitants 
seemed contented and happy, and labored industriously 
to clear off the ground to make room for the crops they 
were to plant. The soil was rich and responded gener- 
ously even to the rude cultivation given it, and large crops 
of grain were made each year. Cotton was not much 
of a commodity and the farmers gave but small atten- 
tion to its cultivation. Cattle raising was quite exten- 
sively engaged in. They had but little money in those 
early years, but all had the necessities of life, and barter 
of the products of the soil largely took the place of ready 
cash. 

Coming of the Preachers. 

It was then, even as now. The Methodist and Bap- 
tist preachers followed in the wake of all settlements, 
no matter how remote from the throbbing pulse of the 
great outside world. The first sermon ever preached in 
Greene (now Hale) county, was in the year 1818, at the 



4 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

town of Troy. In that year the Rev. James Monette, a 
Methodist minister, cultivated a crop and preached to the 
inhabitants of Troy. The next year he moved to Erie, 
and his house in that village was used as a place of wor- 
ship for some years. Rev. Robert Payne — afterward 
Bishop Payne — filled regular appointments there, as he 
did also at the house of Capt. Edward Clement in Greens- 
boro in 1820, at which time there was no church edifice 
in the town. 

Close in the footsteps of the Methodist ministers came 
the Baptists. The Rev. Joseph Ryan, a Baptist preacher, 
settled in Troy, and was the first Baptist preacher to come 
to this portion of Alabama. He founded the Baptist 
church at Greensboro, which was located in the eastern 
part of the present town, very near where stands the 
residence of Mrs. Walker, at the forks of the Marion and 
Newbern public roads. 

The Presbyterians and Episcopalians came later on. 
The first sermon preached in Greensboro by a Presbyte- 
rian minister was in 1822, by a Mr. Hunter. The same 
year the Rev. James Hillhouse of South Carolina, de- 
livered his first sermon here, and established the present 
Presbyterian church, which was located near the Greens- 
boro Graded School building. He died several years af- 
terwards, and was buried in the Stokes graveyard in the 
northern suburbs of the town. His grave may yet be 
seen, as the tombstone is in an excellent state of preser- 
vation. 

In 1833, the Episcopalians met and selected St. Paul's, 
Greensboro, as the name of the Parish, but it was not 
until 1840 that it was duly incorporated. The Rev. Caleb 
S. Ives was connected with the church at this place as 
early as 1834, and preached in the Presbyterian church. 
He was followed in 1837 by the Rev. J. S. Goodman, who 
in turn, was succeeded in 1842, by Rev. Julian Sawyer. 



THE FIRST MAIL 5 

More extended notices of the various churches will be 
found elsewhere in this volume. 

The First Mail. 

The first United States mail ever received in Troy was 
brought from Cahaba, the former capital of Alabama, 
which was at one time a flourishing city with splendid 
buildings of brick and stone, fronted by yards filled with 
choicest flowers, and possessing a citizenship of wealth 
and culture. But the old town is now only a heap of 
ruins, and in February, 1894, the site was sold in Selma, 
under a tax sale, and was bid in by an ex-slave for $550.00. 




THE SITE OF OLD CAHABA. 

The Capital of Alabama from 1820 to 1826. The house shown in 
the picture is the only one left standing of the great number 
of magnificent structures formerly in the Capital City. It was 
from this point that the first mail was brought to Greensboro; 
and it was also from Cahaba that the Greensboro merchants 
of the old days hauled their goods. 



The first mail was brought to Troy in 1818, by Samuel 
G. Briggs on horseback, and was opened in the store of 
Frederick Peck, the first postmaster, on the 3rd day of 
September. The arrival of the mail was quite an event in 
the history of the little village. It had been carried to 
Cahaba on a barge from Blakely. The trip by the pioneer 
mail-rider was not unattended by dangers as he journeyed 



6 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

alone through the dense forest for half a hundred miles. 
Mr. Briggs resided in Greensboro from its foundation to 
the time of his death, which occurred Feb. 12, 1895, 
at the age of 82 years. 




Chapter II 

FIRST HOUSES. 

The first house erected in what is now Greensboro was 
in the year 1818, and was built by John Nelson. It was 
a one-room log structure, and was situated nearly oppo- 
site the store of E. A. Powers & Sons on Main street. 
In this small house Mr. Nelson, for about a year, sold 
powder, shot, whiskey, tobacco, etc. In January, 1819, 
he sold out to Wm. Lovell, and settled on forty acres of 
land on the place south of Greensboro known as Midway, 
and engaged in farming. He continued to purchase the 
rich prairie lands and, at his death in 1856, he was very 
wealthy, leaving property valued at over half a million 
dollars. He is buried in the graveyard on the Jenkins 
place, three miles west of town, near the public road. 
Mr. Nelson has a number of descendants in this section. 
He was a man of great common sense and business saga- 
city. 

In 1819, several other houses were erected in Greens- 
boro — one by Silas Baggett on the lot where the Presby- 
terian church now stands. He used it as a wheelwright 
shop, and kept the rockaways and wagons in repair. 

The same year, Mr. Whitehead built a small log house 
near where the First National Bank now does business. 
This house was used as a general merchandise store. 

There was another store near the Andrew Pickens 
place, several miles to the south of the village, kept by 
Jason Candy, where he did a thriving business trading 
with the Indians on the Jackson road — a road cut out 
by the troops under Andrew Jackson when on their way 



8 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

to St. Stephens to quell the disturbances with Indians. 
There is a spring on the Rabb tract, a mile or two east 
of Greensboro, where it is said Gen, Jackson camped for 
a short while when on the mission noted above. 

The next house in the present Greensboro was a log 
structure built by Frederick Peck on the site where now 
stands the two story brick building occupied by George 
Findlay and The Watchman office, and in this log struc- 
ture Peck sold groceries and dry goods for several years. 
He annually went to New York City on horse back to 
purchase his stock of goods. For three successive sea- 
sons he made this long journey of over a thousand miles 
on the same horse. 

In 1819 Alabama was admitted into the Union, and 
soon after its admission the inhabitants of the village of 
Troy were forced to move their place of residence, be- 
cause of the fact that their town was situated on the six- 
teenth section, which, by Act of Congress, was reserved 
to every State for the benefit of the public schools. 

The people gathered together all their belongings that 
could be moved, and located in Greensboro, or rather 
where the town is now situated, for the new location 
continued to be known as Troy until the year 1823. The 
original plot of "new" Troy was made in 1820 by McAl- 
pine, surveyor, and is recorded in Book "I", page 141, 
Record of Deeds for Hale county. 

The citizens of Troy did not regret to abandon the old 
town, for the horse jockeys had taken the main street 
for a race course; whiskey shops, or "doggeries" as they 
were called in those days, were numerous, and drunken- 
ness and rowdyism were very common, and life was made 
miserable to the more respectable portion of the com- 
munity. 

In 1820 a shoe-shop was the only thing located on the 
lot on which is now situated Dr. Carson's residence and 
sanitarium, and deGraffenried & Evins' law office. It was 
a small frame building in which James Yeaies resided 



THE FIRST LAWYERS 9 

and repaired the footwear of the inhabitants of the lit- 
tle village. 

The same year (1820) Samuel G. Briggs located in 
"new" Troy and opened a hotel in a small house that 
stood where Thomas H. Jones' residence is located. Just 
across the street from him was a tailor's shop kept by 
a man named Clark. 

Troy seems to have grown rapidly at this period, for 
at the beginning of 1821, the number of stores had in- 
creased to five. Malone and Lake kept one on the lot 
immediately west of the First National Bank; Blanton 
and McAlpine had a bar room on a part of the present 
hotel lot; William Lovell also conducted a saloon on the 
east corner of the Dorman block; Frederick Peck, as be- 
fore noted kept a general store on the lot where stands 
the two-story building formerly known as the Shackel- 
ford building; and J. A. Wemyss kept a stock of goods in 
a store where the Greensboro hotel now stands. Absa- 
lom Alston had a hotel on the lot where the M. D. L. 
Moore stores are located ; Miles Johnson also conducted a 
hotel in a frame house located on the Dr. Peterson resi- 
dence lot, and still another was located on the present 
court house lot, and was conducted by Edward Clement. 

The buildings in which these men of a past generation 
did business were very rude aff:'airs — most of them being 
constructed of logs, the cracks being "chinked" with 
m.ud — and those in which lumber or plank was used were 
considered fine structures. The passage of more than 
three-quarters of a century has wrought wonders, for 
where stood the extremely modest homes and business 
houses of the ancient forefathers are now to be found 
splendid buildings of brick, and homes of the most beau- 
tiful architectural type. 

The First Lawyers. 

In 1822, Ezekiel Pickens opened the first law office in 
the village in a house that stood on the present Dugger 



10 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



old homestead lot. The second was opened the same 
year by W. C. Chapman near where the Steinhart Gro- 
cery store is located. The latter part of the same year, 
John Erwin came from Kentucky and located. He re- 
sided first in a log house situated on the lot in the rear 




HON. JOHN ERWiN, 

Who came to Greensboro in 1818, whei-e he resided until his death 
in 1860. He was among the most able lawyers in Alabama 
and took a very prominent part in the Secession Convention. 

of the Greensboro hotel, and opened a law office in a room 
near where stands the building in which the First Na- 
tional Bank does business. He was a man of strong in- 
tellect and business ability, and in the after years attain- 
ed to prominence and amassed a fortune. 

Manner of Travel. 



There were no railroads in this entire section in the 



FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 1825 11 

early days, and the manner of travel to distant points was 
either on horseback, in buggies or by stage coach. The 
merchants frequently rode horseback to New York and 
Philadelphia to purchase their stocks of goods, which 
they had shipped to Mobile by water, thence to Cahaba, 
from which latter place the goods were hauled in wagons 
to Greensboro. The writer has often heard Col. John 
G. Harvey relate the fact that he was on his way to New 
York on horseback in 1833 when the stars fell. It was 
interesting to hear him describe the grandeur of the celes- 
tial display ; but he would admit that a person was not in 
a condition of mind to go into ecstacies over it while the 
stars were falling, but the beauty and grandeur came to 
the mind later on, when all sense of the danger of the 
arrival of the general judgment day had passed. The 
Colonel related that he was somewhere in North Carolina 
at the time, and he was specially impressed with the rare- 
fied atmosphere the next day. He never remembered to 
have breathed air so pure and bracing. A lame horse 
would always remind the Colonel of the experience of '33, 
on account of the fact that the one he was riding to New 
York was lame at the time of this meteoric shower — 
which has gone down into history as the most phenomenal 
on record. 

The financial crisis of 1825 was severely felt in Greens- 
boro, and from 1825 to 1828 there were many bank- 
ruptcies, which created much business for the lawyers, 
who prospered greatly. This over, there came a lull, till 
the fearful crisis of 1837, when the financial fabric of 
the entire Union seemed to be ripped from top to bot- 
tom, and the whole nation nearly became bankrupt, and 
the effects of which continued until 1842 and 1843, at 
which later date the people of Greensboro seemed to have 
somewhat recovered from the shock. During the period 
the lawyers, clerks of courts, sheriffs and all judicial of- 
ficers flourished. 



12 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

For a graphic and true picture of the disastrous panic 
of 1837, the reader is referred to "Baldwin's Fhish Times 
of Alabama and Mississippi," wherein the author has 
portrayed the woes and miseries the people underwent 
during the period succeeding the "bursting of the bubble." 
Thousands upon thousands of acres of land in this sec- 
tion went under the hammer of the auctioneer when set- 
tlement day came after the fictitious fortunes that had 
been accumulated on a mere promise to pay had been 
swept away by one stroke of "Old Hickory" Jackson's 
pen. The wreck and ruin that strewed the financial 
pathway of that period served as danger signals for many 
long years — and there are those living in this day and 
generation who have learned from a study of the fearful 
crisis of 1837, that it does not pay, in the long run, for 
a person to become rich on a credit. 

Rode Him on a Rail. 

Back in the early days, when Greensboro was going 
through the formative period, there were quite a number 
of the rough and lawless element within its borders. Oc- 
casionally one of these would act so very badly that the 
better class of citizens would become outraged, and take 
the matter of punishment of the offender into their own 
hands. 

In a log house located near where the residence of W. 
W. Overstreet now stands on Main street, there resided 
a man who frequently whipped his wife severely. He 
would be fined for the offence by the justice of the peace, 
but this did not seem to have the effect of stopping him. 
One night he gave his wife an unusually severe whipping. 
The matter became generally known next day, and some 
of the citizens — of the number Capt. John Cocke, Col. 
Scott, William Hopper and Richard Hatter — decided that 
they would endeavor to cure the offender of his wicked 
doings, so they got a good stout rail and placed it where 



RODE HIM ON A RAIL 13 

it could be gotten hold of handily, and waited for the wife 
beater to come up town. In an hour or two he made 
his appearance, and seated himself in front of a little 
store where Northup & Hanna now do business. Capt. 
Cocke crossed over the street and engaged him in con- 
versation, totally foreign to the subject of wife-beating. 
The culprit was whittling with a large, ugly-looking knife, 
and the Captain watched for a favorable opportunity to 
knock it out of his hand, but the man seemed to suspect 
something and kept close watch on him. Seeing the 
dilemma. Col. Scott crossed over to where the two men 
were talking, and soon caught the man off his guard. 
He picked his chance, and with a vigorous kick, landed 
the knife in the middle of the street. Cocke and Scott 
grabbed their victim and held him until the rail was 
brought by Hopper and Hatter. Other citizens joined in, 
and placed the man on the rail and held him on it, while 
others put the ends on their shoulders and paraded up and 
down Main street, singing at the top of their voices : 
"Here's the man what whips his wife!" After punishing 
him in this manner for some time, the fellow was given 
his liberty, with the injunction that if the citizens ever 
heard of his striking his wife they would take him out 
and wear the hide from him with switches. 

The admonition was heeded, and this sort of conduct 
on the part of the fellow was never heard of again. 




Chapter III 



THE PASSING OF TROY— GREENSBORO— VAR- 
IOUS CHARTERS AND AMENDMENTS. 

In December, 1823, Abijah Peck and others made ap- 
plication to the Legislature of Alabama for a charter of 
incorporation for the town of Greensborough, in the 
county of Greene and on the 24th of that month the Act 
of incorporation was passed. Its chartered name was 
"the Intendant and Council of the Town of Greensbor- 
ough," and the incorporation was "endowed with the 
same powers and privileges and subject to the same re- 
strictions and regulations in all their proceedings and 
governed in the same manner as is provided in an Act 
to Incorporate the Town of Montgomery, passed on the 
3rd day of December, 1819." And thus was Greensboro 
first given a name and a habitation on the map. 

Horse Racing. 

Among the first ordinances passed by the Intendant and 
Council under this charter was one to prohibit horserac- 
ing through the Main street. 

The spirit of the old Trojans had become quite preva- 
lent, and the rougher element from the outlying districts 
made a practice of coming to town and running horse 
races up and down what is now the Main street of Greens- 
boro. In addition to the enactment of the ordinance pro- 
hibiting this conduct, several of the prominent gentlemen 
of the town banded together, and informed the "sports" 
that they must discontinue their practice; in fact, our 



HORSE RACING 15 

notes recite that the aforesaid gentlemen made their lec- 
ture to the lawless element more forcible by having their 
pistols with them, and informing the offenders that if 
they were guilty of running races on the Main street 
again they would be shot from their horses. This had 
the desired effect, and the "jockeys," in the after years — 
1834 — made another track two miles west of town near 
the plantation known as the Jenkins place, and kept up 
the sport for a number of years. It finally fell into dis- 
use in this section altogether, and there has not been a 
horse race in Greensboro for many, many years. 

But to go back a little : A note before us says that on 
an extra gala occasion in Greensboro in the days of the 
reign of the "jockeys," that as a bunch of the racers came 
dashing up the street at break-neck speed, one of the 
horses flew the track and ran into a dogwood thicket 
where the old Whelan residence (now owned by Mrs. 
Ricard) stands, and killed the jockey. The name of the 
unfortunate fellow is forgotten, and even the place of 
his burial was not remembered by our informant. 

During the period between 1823 and 1832, the citizens 
of Greensboro seem to have allowed their charter to lapse 
from non-use, for on January 21, 1832, the Legislature 
passed an Act "To revive, repeal in part and amend an 
Act to Incorporate the Town of Greensborough in the 
county of Greene, approved December 24, 1823." 

By this Act the following taxes only could be assessed 
and collected : 

1. Not exceeding one-fourth of one per cent on real 
property. 

2. A poll tax of $1 on each white male inhabitant 
over the age of twenty-one years. 

3. Not exceeding $1 each on all four-wheeled pleasure 
carriages. 

4. On all retailers of liquors, goods and merchandise, 
not exceeding $10 per annum. 

From the foregoing it will be seen that the income of 



16 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

the town was quite small, but the expenses were equally 
so. The officers received no salaries. The Intendant was 
allowed to charge only a small fee for the trial of crim- 
inal offences, and the Constable was also allowed to charge 
a nominal fee for making arrests, but it was a rare oc- 
currence for a case to be reported to the Intendant. Nearly 
all the cases for breach of peace, if reported at all, were 
carried before the Justices of the Peace, whose courts 
were kept quite busy at times — and all were white people 
who were tried, as the negroes were slaves, and were 
rarely ever guilty of violating the laws either of the 
town or the State. 

The corporate limits of the town at this time were the 
quarter section — 160 acres — and so remained until Jan- 
uary 12, 1833, when they were extended to embrace the 
residence and lots now owned and occupied by Charles E. 
Latimer. The object of the extension was to relieve the 
owner — John Marast — of the duty of working the public 
road outside of the town. 

Addition to Greensboro. 

In 1835 a further proposed addition was made to the 
town of Greensboro. At that time the corporate limits 
extended west only to the cross street dividing the Stoll- 
enwerck old homestead from the N. L. Castleman place. 
What is known as McAlpine's addition was, in 1836, sold 
at public sale. The following is a copy of the original 
advertisement of the sale: 

NOTICE— LAND AT AUCTION. 

Will be sold to the highest bidder, at auction, on the third Mon- 
day in January next, all of that tract of land known as the Mc- 
Alpine tract and designated as the South West Quarter of Sec- 
tion 17, Township 20, and Range 5, East. 

The said land will be sold out in lots of various sizes, contain- 
ing from one-fourth of an acre to six acres, with streets from 
66 to 75 feet wide. The above tract of land is situated immediately 



EARLY SOCIAL LIFE 17 

West and adjoining the Town of Greensborough, Green County, 
Alabama. 

Persons wishing to reside in the said town or its immediate 
vicinity, would do well to examine the above premises, in person, 
previous to the day of sale. Some of the lots have beautiful groves 
and elevated situations for building — one of them containing four 
acres, is verv well improved, having on it a comfortable frame 
dwelling, all other necessary out houses, a good garden, excellent 
well of water, and a fine peach orchard. 

The undersigned Commissioners, will give to the purchaser or 
purchasers, a certificate for the lot or lots they may purchase; 
deeds given by them when the last payment shall have been made. 

Terms of sale, one-third cash, and the balance in one and two 
years. Notes with good securities, will be required. Sale to com- 
mence at 10 o'clock and continue from day to day. 

J. C. McALPINE, 
WILLIAM McALPINE, 

JOHN N. McDowell, 

Commissioners 

A plat of the above lots may be seen by calling at the Beacon 
of Liberty Printing Office. 

Greensboro'. Dec. 23, 1835. 

The McAlpines were prominent citizens of Greensboro 
for a number of years. 

Early Social Life. 

The social life of Greensboro has always been pleas- 
ant, even from the earliest days. Refinement and culture 
were brought here with the greater portion of the early 
settlers, and the children of the pioneers were given the 
best advantages available in the matter of education. 

After the downfall of the great Napoleon at Waterloo, 
many of the French people who were identified closely 
with the Napoleonic party fled the country — one of them, 
J. J. Cluis, cultivated a farm near Greensboro in the early 
thirties. He had been a man of considerable note during 
the reign of Napoleon and was at one time an aide to the 
famous Marshal Lefebvre, the Duke of Rivigo, who was 
afterwards at the head of the police department of Paris. 
Colonel Cluis was then his secretary. At another time 
Cluis had the custody of Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, 



18 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

while he was imprisoned by Napoleon. Like the balance 
of the refugees, he found the cultivation of the vine and 
the olive an unremunerative business in Alabama, and 
became quite a poor man, but was always proud, and 
seemed to live back in the past when the world trembled 
beneath the onward march of the great "Army of the Re- 
public" of which he was an honored member. In order 
to sustain life, this once famous man kept a hotel or tav- 
ern in Greensboro for some time. He moved from here 
to Mobile, where he died a few years afterwards. 

Quite a number of other French people settled in this 
immediate neighborhood, and lent the charm of their 
manners and the elegance of their deportment to the so- 
cial life of Greensboro in the long ago. Their descend- 
ants are yet to be found in this section. 

The tournament was in great vogue in those days, and 
elaborate preparations were made for the exciting sport. 
Gallant knights came from miles around to participate 
in the tourney. Their costumes were splendid, and the 
plumed knights, as they rode in a body to the grounds, 
presented a fine appearance. The crowning of the Queen 
of Love and Beauty was attended with much pomp and 
ceremony, and was a great occasion. 

Parties and dances were numerous. The dances were 
always given at private homes, and the host and hostess 
of the occasion spread a most sumptuous repast, at which 
champagne and wine flowed freely. The attire of 
the ladies was of the latest fashion and of the finest ma- 
terials, and that of the gentlemen was of broadcloth. At 
the dances only the old Virginia reel and the stately min- 
uette were danced — the German, with its many intricate 
figures, being an unknown accomplishment among the 
dancers of the old time. When the vivacious French peo- 
ple who entered into the social life of the town, fresh 
from "gay Paree," showed the assembled company how 
the round dance was executed, they looked on with pleas- 
ed surprise, and as time went by they, too, learned the 



EARLY SOCIAL LIFE 19 

art, and the old Virginia reel and the minuette were su- 
perannuated. 

The girls were as beautiful and charming, and the men 
were as true and gallant in that distant time as are the 
girls and young men of today. But all those who lived 
in the period referred to have long since vanished — their 
very names, many of them, being forgotten. 

They were happy and joyous beneath the self-same 
sky that bends above the Greensboro of today, but they 
now rest out under the quiet stars, forgetful of all life's 
joys and sorrows and disappointments — which will be 
recorded of you and me in the after-time. But 

"A hundred years from now, dear heart, 

We'll neither know nor care 
What came of all life's bitterness, 

Or followed love's despair. 
Then fill the glasses up again, 

And kiss me through the rose-leaf rain ; 
We'll build one Castle more in Spain, 

And dream one more dream there." 




Chapter IV 

WEST GREENSBORO. 

In 1835, the road from Erie, the then county seat of 
Greene, made no turn at the N. B. Jones' front gate as 
now, but continued at an angle in the rear of the Benners' 
house near the present location of the Pasteur home, 
went across the Boardman front yard, and then entered 
Main street. 




"THE OLD RED HOUSE." 

Oldest structure in Greensboro. It was erected in the early 

Twenties. 



The Al Stollenwerck old homestead lot extended to the 
then road; a private dwelling, occupied by Mr. Lowry, 
known as the "Red House," so-called from the color it 
was painted, stood very near the road, so that in looking 
down Main street, it seemed to block it. This old house 
is still in existence, and was used for many years by the 
Stollenwercks as a kitchen. It is yet in the back yard 



HUNG IN EFFIGY 21 

of the Stollenwerck lot. 'The Red House" was regarded 
as quite a commodious dwelling when it was erected back 
in the latter part of the twenties. The above is a splen- 
did picture of the old two-room building. 

Beyond the Boardman residence was the home of Mrs. 
Ashe, and further on, as far as Dr. Wm. Jones' planta- 
tion, which was located in the rear of the present Hobson 
homestead, all was a dense forest covered with thick un- 
dergrowth. The hollow just east of where W. B. Inge 
resides, was a very dense thicket, with a rippling stream 
flowing through it. 

Himg in Effigy. 

The cutting down of an oak tree and the filling of a 
well in 1843 in Greensboro came near causing a riot. 
Much bitter feeling was manifested over the incident. 
In the exact center of Main street at the intersection of 
Tuscaloosa street, was a public well covered by a square 
shelter with a four-sided roof; shading it was a large, 
thrifty, beautifully shaped oak, beneath the shade of 
which the inhabitants rested and whiled away the dull, 
hot summer days. In 1843, the Town Council, after de- 
liberating over the matter, and coming to the conclusion 
that the well and the beautiful oak were unnecessary 
obstructions to the highway, had the well filled up and 
the tree cut down. So great was the indignation of the 
populace over this act of vandalism (as they regarded 
it) that the Intendant, who was instrumental in remov- 
ing the ancient landmarks, was hung in effigy. At the 
time of the existence of the well referred to, there was 
another in the center of Main street very near the Greens- 
boro hotel. This well was also filled up. About ten or 
twelve years ago, this old relic was brought to the at- 
tention of the public by a sinking of the soil at this point. 
The old inhabitants then recalled the watering place of 
the old days. It is a fact that is not generally known, or 



22 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

at least not thought of by many, that a wound in the 
breast of old mother earth never heals if made beneath 
the top soil. The clay never runs together and forms 
again a solid strata, but the cut always remains. 

On January 27, 1845, an Act was passed to "Alter and 
amend the several Acts Incorporating the Town of 
Greensborough." It somewhat enlarged the powers of 
the Intendant and Council. 

On February 12, 1850, another Act to amend the char- 
ter was passed, the main feature of which was authoriz- 
ing the town to build a jail, or calaboose, for the deten- 
tion of slaves. The building erected is still standing in 
the rear of the old market house, located on the southern 
boundary line of the property of Gulley and Christian 
on Main street. It served as a county prison before the 
present jail was built, and many are the evil doers who 
have been detained within the narrow limits of the two 
little rooms composing the calaboose. It is still in use 
by the town as a city prison. 

As a matter of historical interest we record here that 
the town of Greensboro presented the county of Hale with 
the building now used as a jail immediately in the rear 
of the court house. This was done in accordance with 
the proposition Greensboro made the county to the effect 
that it would present the county with a court house and 
jail if the voters would make the town the county seat. 
The brick of which the jail is built was burned in 1868 by 
the town authorities, and it is claimed that considerable 
money was saved by the operation. Hugh Watt was the 
contractor. 

In 1850, the town erected the building that is now used 
as the Fire Company's House, as a public market, and 
all butchers and sellers of fresh meats were required by 
law to keep their places of business in stalls provided for 
the purpose. The stalls were rented to the butchers, 
and quite a neat sum was realized each year by the town 
from the rentals. The bell in the little tower — now used 



LIMITS EXTENDED 23 

as a fire alarm — was rung each morning between four 
and five o'clock to notify the people of Greensboro that 
the market was open and ready for business. In those 
days every one buying beef had to go or send for it, or 
else they went without. 

On January 25, 1856, an Act incorporating the South- 
ern University was passed. Sections 4, 5, and 6 of this 
Act forbids the sale of liquors within a radius of five 
miles of Greensboro, except by druggists. Governor Win- 
ston vetoed the bill, but the Legislature passed it over 
his protest. 

The exception in regard to druggists selling liquors was 
soon taken advantage of, and for some years the drug 
stores sold whiskey without apparent restraint. So fla- 
grantly was the intent of the law violated, that at the ses- 
sion of the Legislature 1884-5, the charter of the Univer- 
sity was amended so as to prohibit the sale of liquor by 
the druggists. For nearly a quarter of a century no liquor 
has been legally sold in Greensboro. On January 1, 1887, 
the entire county of Hale became prohibition territory by 
Legislative enactment. 

It was not until the year 1858 that the limits of the 
town were extended beyond the original quarter section 
and the Marast lot. Acting under Sections 1220 and 1225 
of the then General Statutes of Alabama, a petition was 
filed in the Probate Court of Greene county, praying that 
the matter of extending the corporate limits of Greens- 
boro might be submitted to a vote of the qualified electors 
of said town. The territory designated as an addition 
was the northeast, the southeast and southwest quarters 
of Section 16. Considerable opposition to the proposed 
addition developed, and the election was quite exciting. 
However, the extensionists won, the vote standing sixty 
for, and forty-two against extension. The territory an- 
nexed came under the jurisdiction of the town authori- 
ties in April, 1858. 

In 1859, the charter was again amended so as to author- 



24 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



ize the imprisonment of white persons, and also made the 
Intendant elective by the people instead of by the Council 
as before. The office of marshal was also created. 

On March 1st, 1870, an Act was approved by the Legis- 
lature, by which all former Acts in regard to the Charter 
of the town of Greensboro were repealed, and the powers 
granted under the act of 1870, were regarded as the pow- 
ers to be exercised by those in authority. New ordinances 
and new by-laws were enacted by the Mayor and Council. 

Finally the Legislature at its session of 1894-5 repeal- 
ed all former Acts and gave the town its present char- 
ter. The corporate limits as set forth and defined therein 
are the same as the limits of today. The following is the 
territory embraced in the corporation: The West half 
of the Northwest quarter, the Southwest quarter and the 
West half of the Southeast quarter of Section 16 ; the East 
half and the Southwest quarter of Section 17 ; the North 
half of the Northwest quarter, and the Northwest quar- 
ter of the Northwest quarter of Section 20, and that part 
of Section 21 lying north of a line beginning at the South- 
east corner of the Southern University grounds and run- 
ning West to the Section line between Sections 20 and 
21, all in Township 20, Range 5, East. 



Chapter V 

GINNING AND MARKETING OF COTTON. 

On the lot in the rear of Geo. Findlay's store stood, in 
1830, a gin house and screw. The merchants bought cot- 
ton in the seed and had it ginned, and the small planters 
brought in their cotton to have it ginned for toll. The 
merchants also bought much cotton in bales. Mobile was 
the market to which it was shipped, and the shipping 
point was what is now known as old Erie — not a house 
being left to mark the site of the once flourishing town. 
The hauling to Erie gave employment to a number of 
professional white teamsters. The mule teams of these 
wagoners, as well as the teams of the neighboring plant- 
ers, were decorated with bells, high up over the hames, 
bright and glistening, which, besides setting off the beau- 
ty of the animals, made the streets musical and lively 
by their merry jingle. 

Sport in the Old Days. 

In 1830, on the lot where now stands the handsome 
three-story Opera House, there was located a wall-like 
erection of plank supported by braces behind (say 30 
feet long by 25 feet high) like one side of a building, for 
the purpose of ball-play. The name of the game played 
by the men of that distant period was "Fives," and dur- 
ing the dull summer season, it was a very popular amuse- 
ment. Base ball was one of the joys which the citizen- 
ship of the long ago never knew, and therefore never 
missed, just as the game of "Fives" is to the present gen- 
eration. 



26 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

School Lands. 

Up to 1832 the public school lands (the 16th section) 
were rented out, and the proceeds applied to the schools. 
On January 13th, 1832, they were sold at auction — John 
M. Bates, Patrick May and Hugh McCann being the com- 
missioners. The plat (which shows the location of the 
roads at that time) with the names of the purchasers, 
is recorded in Book E, page 511 Greene county deed re- 
cords. After the sale, the lands were cultivated by the 
owners, or rented out. Some of the lots — that for in- 
stance on which stands the D. F. McCrary home, and oth- 
ers in close proximity, rented for $12 per acre per year 
for growing cotton. The land was rich and produced 
very fine crops. 

Killing of Dr. Hellen. 

Up to twenty-five or thirty years ago, Greensboro bore 
an unenviable reputation abroad for being a rowdy, tur- 
bulent place, — a place where murders were frequently 
committed. And it is a fact that there is hardly a corner 
on the streets of the town where the soil has not been red- 
dened with the life-blood of some hum.an being. There 
were feuds and fights and killings that would have done 
credit to a mountain county of Kentucky, But all that 
passed away a quarter of a century ago, and in all the land 
there is not to be found a more quiet, refined, peaceable 
and lawabiding people. 

It would require many pages to tell of the awful trag- 
edies that have been enacted on the streets of the town. 
We shall mention only one of the many occurrences. It 
happened so far back that there is not a man now living 
who has personal knowledge of the unfortunate affair, 
but there are a few who have it from their fathers or 
mothers. 

On December 21, 1833, a special election for justice of 



KILLING OF DR. H ELLEN 27 

the peace was being held in a store situated on the Stein- 
hart corner. In those days the office was much sought 
after, and the campaign on this occasion was very warm. 

A man named John Street, a lawyer, was a candidate 
for the position. During the progress of the election, 
a young physician named Dr. J. S. W. Hellen, became 
engaged in a quarrel with one of Street's brothers, and 
blows and a tussle ensued on the sidewalk near the poll- 
ing place. The fighting men were soon surrounded by 
a crowd. John Street came to his brother's assistance. 
Dr. Hellen broke loose from his antagonists, rushed into 
the store, picked up a couple of scale weights, exclaiming: 
"Let me get back to the d — n scoundrels!" and as he 
went out of the door he fell dead on the sidewalk. An 
examination showed that he had been fatally stabbed. 

The Streets were arrested, and either placed under bond 
or put in jail at Erie. They were indicted by the grand 
jury for the murder of Hellen. Col. John Erwin, the 
ablest lawyer in this section, was employed to defend 
them. Owing to the feeling of the public against the men, 
a change of venue was granted, and the trial took place 
in Marengo county. Although there was a large number 
of witnesses, no one could be found who knew which of 
the Streets struck the fatal blow, and as they were tried 
separately, both were acquitted. 

At the time of his murder. Dr. Hellen was Worship- 
ful Master of the Masonic Lodge in Greensboro, and was 
buried with the honors of the Craft on December 22, 
1833. The funeral services were held in the Presbyte- 
rian Church — then located on the lot immediately in 
front of the Greensboro Graded School. The funeral 
sermon was delivered by Rev. John Ives. 

Twenty or more years after the occurrence, there came 
to Greensboro on business a man from North Carolina 
named Brooks. He met Col. Erwin, the lawyer who had 
defended the Streets, and in the course of the conversa- 
tion he remarked that it was his first visit to Greensboro 



28 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

since Dr. Hellen was killed. The reference at once arous- 
ed the interest of Col. Erwin, and he asked him what he 
knew about the fight, and he said that he saw the entire 
occurrence from beginning to end, and that he saw the 
man when he made the fatal stab at Hellen. "The man," 
continued Brooks, "reached over while the two men were 
clinched and plunged his knife into Hellen with all his 
might. He quickly withdrew it from Hellen's body, wiped 
the blade on the leg of his trousers, and walked off around 
the corner. He was a tall, slender fellow. The next 
time I saw him he was standing on the corner (near the 
present Lichtman store) dressed in an entirely different 
suit of clothes, but I recognized him as the man who did 
the killing." 

This, declared the lawyer, was the first time that he 
knew certainly which one of the Streets struck the fatal 
blow, and from the description of the man given by 
Brooks he then knew that John Street was the person. 




Chapter VI 



DIVISION OF GREENSBORO IN THE EARLY 
YEARS OF ITS EXISTENCE. 

A few years prior to 1830, Greensborough was divided 
into three imaginary wards, known as "The White Set- 
tlement," "The Black Settlement," and "Dogsboro." A 
diligent search failed to reveal the reason for the names. 
The reader is left to judge of the appropriateness of each 
by a description of the various wards. 

The boundaries of the White Settlement were from 
Centreville street on the east to the street immediately 
east of the Greensboro hotel on the west — in other words, 
the two blocks east from the hotel. In this Settlement 
was a two-story frame hotel, painted white, located where 
the court house now stands. Opposite, was an imposing- 
looking (for those days) frame house, the residence of 
Dr. Hunter. The house is yet standing, but has been 
added to in the rear, and is known as the Gewin hotel. 
Further on towards the west, on either side of the street, 
were buildings variously occupied — two dry goods stores, 
in one of which was the postoffice, a tinner's shop, a tail- 
or's shop, a lawyer's office, a printing office and two 
dwellings. 

From the street east of the Greensboro hotel to Tusca- 
loosa street on the west was known as the Black Settle- 
ment. Within these limits were four or five dry goods 
stores, two liquor saloons, two lawyers' offices and three 
dwellings. On the Powers' corner stood a one-story dou- 
ble log cabin, kept as a hotel, its swinging sign a stag. 
Scarff's cabinet shop and residence stood where the large 



30 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

two-story brick store stands at the corner of Tuscaloosa 
and Main Streets— built in 1887 by Capt. S. T. Taylor— 
by the way, the first brick structure that had been erected 
in the town long before the civil war. Opposite the 
Scarff building was a red frame house, a hotel, kept by 
Maj. A. L. DesCourt, a French refugee, who had served 
under the first Napoleon, and participated in the battle 
of Waterloo ; further up, on the same side of the street, 
was a store and a tailor's shop. 

Dogsboro extended from Tuscaloosa street on the east 
to the Stollenwerck old homestead on the west — the west- 
ern boundary line being the corporate limits of the town. 
In Dogsboro stood the village blacksmith shop (Coleman 
W. Garrett, proprietor). It was located near the west cor- 
ner of the present Methodist church lot, about as far 
back from the street as the church stands. 

The passage of the years and the earnest endeavors of 
good people work wonderful changes. The progress of 
civilization is to be noted by the churches and schools 
along the pathway. Back in the days referred to, when 
Dogsboro precinct was in its glory, near where stands 
the Methodist church was a two-story frame store, which 
was used from 1833 to 1836, at the time of the races, as 
an open gambling house. It was filled with faro tables 
and gambling devices of many kinds, and the visitors 
to the place were numerous, and large sums were lost 
and won on the result of the races and around the gam- 
ing tables. The officers of the law paid no attention to 
such diversions, and gambling and horse-racing went on 
undisturbed. This house was occupied for a few years 
after 1836 by Levin Gayle as a dry goods store. In 1839, 
the lot was sold to the Methodists of Greensboro, and 
a church was erected thereon the next year. 

Princely Gambling. 

As noted above, gambling in the early days of this sec- 



PRINCELY GAMBLING 31 

tion was very common and considered quite a respect- 
able occupation, and men of the highest standing, measur- 
ed by the moral standard of the age, engaged in it and wa- 
gered princely fortunes on the turn of a card. To illus- 
trate the reckless daring of those who sat at the gaming 
table in the days referred to, the following true incident 
is related : 

Some time in the year 1833, there went aboard one of 
the magnificent steam-boats on the Alabama at Mobile, 
a young man, (whom we shall call Brown) on his way 
home at a point higher up^he river. He had spent sever- 
al days in the city transacting business, and was return- 
ing with a very large sum of money to be used in the con- 
duct of his business as a merchant. After selecting his 
state-room and looking to the safety of his baggage, he 
leisurely strolled about and made the acquaintance of his 
fellow passengers. He was of good address, handsome 
and well educated. He found, to his intense disgust, that 
he was so unfortunate as to have taken passage with 
quite a large anl accomplished set of gamblers. They 
were going up the river on a "professional tour." 

No sooner was the steamer well under way before these 
gamblers brought forth the implements of their profes- 
sion. Faro, roulette and various other gambling devices 
were exhibited to tempt the unwary to risk their money. 
At first, many of the passengers objected to having the 
cabin turned into a gambling hell; but the professionals 
were loud in their claims that they played on the square, 
and assured those who objected that if one of their num- 
ber should be caught cheating, the stakes should be for- 
feited and he put off on the nearest land. After this, no 
further objection was made, and the numerous games 
went on without interruption. 

By some means the gamblers found out that Brown 
had a large sum of money with him and they constantly 
besought him to ''try his luck," but he firmly declined 
all invitations. But one evening after supper, tiring of 



32 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

their solicitations he yielded, and consented to make one 
of a party of four who were about to sit down to a game 
of cards for small stakes. 

For a while, no special interest attached to the game, 
— it seemed tame and uninteresting, and the parties ap- 
peared to be evenly matched in point of skill. But as the 
game progressed, the professionals discovered that Brown 
was no novice at the card table, for he was able to hold 
his hand with the best. Larger sums were staked as the 
hours passed. Two of the professionals, either unable 
or unwilling to risk such amounts as were being bet with- 
drew from the game. Brown and one of the gamblers, 
however, still retained their seats, and with eager faces 
and shaking hands continued to play. All the **banks" 
were deserted, and every one in the cabin gathered 
around the table and in breathless silence watched the 
game. Fortune was favoring Brown, and he won stake 
after stake, when the professional, with a fierce oath, 
dashed down the cards and challenged him to give him his 
revenge with dice, to which proposition Brown assented. 

The dice and cups were produced, and the now thor- 
oughly excited men again bet their money, but not with 
the same result. Brown was the loser in every throw. 
He now seemed wild and beside himself with excitement. 
He doubled every time, until no less than ten thousand 
dollars lay upon the table to be won or lost on a single 
throw of the dice. Again the gambler was successful. 
Brown sprang from his chair, and telling his antagonist 
to remain where he was, repaired to his state-room and 
returning in a few minutes, threw upon the table a large 
roll of bank bills, saying to the gambler : 

"You have already won from me over fifteen thousand 
dollars. The money I have just placed upon the table re- 
presents double that amount. I dare you to put up a like 
sum and let the ownership of the whole be decided by a 
single cast!" 



PRINCELY GAMBLING 33 

The gambler, without hesitation, expressed his willing- 
ness to do so, but declared that he did not have so much 
money as that. The deficiency, however, was soon made 
up by his partners, and the two men prepared to resume 
the game. Lying near Brown was a large carving fork 
which the waiter had neglected to take from the table 
when he had cleared it that evening, and as he resumed 
his seat he carelessly, and apparently accidently, drew 
this fork close to his side. 

A breathless silence pervaded the entire room. Men 
stood aghast at the tremendous nerve of the two players. 
Sixty thousand dollars to be won or lost on a single throw 
of the dice ! 

Brown seized the cup, and shaking the dice violently 
for a moment, dashed them before him. Those who were 
in sympathy with him could hardly suppress a cry of 
exultation as they saw that he had thrown double fives — 
within one of the highest number it is possible to make. 

The professionals cast uneasy glances at each other, 
but the gambler who was playing with Brown only smiled 
scornfully, and drew the dice towards him. However, 
just as he was placing them in the box, they slipped from 
his fingers and fell upon the floor. 

In an instant, he stooped and recovered them, but as he 
reached forth his hand to take the cup. Brown, whose eyes 
had a fixed and determined look, and had never for an in- 
stant been off him, suddenly seized the fork, and with a 
movement as quick as that of a rattlesnake, drove the 
sharp prongs through the wrist of the gambler, literally 
pinning it to the table, and at the same time presented 
a cocked pistol full at his head. There was a fearful yell 
from the wounded man, and a volley of oaths from his 
companions. Half a dozen weapons were instantly plant- 
ed at the breast of Brown. He was, however, equal to 
the occasion. Not a muscle of his face moved, and his 
voice was as calm and undisturbed as if in ordinary con- 
versation as he said : 



34 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

"One moment, gentlemen. You yourselves have de- 
clared that should one of your number be detected in foul 
play, that the stakes should be forfeited and he summari- 
ly punished. If the dice under the hand I have pinned 
down on this table are not false, then do with me as you 
please. If, however, my assertion is correct, I demand 
the fulfilment of your pledge." 

By this time every male passenger on the boat had col- 
lected around the table, and the gamblers saw by their 
looks and drawn pistols that they were not to be trifled 
with. So they were forced, reluctantly, to admit the 
truth of Brown's statement. 

The gambler was held securely in his chair, the fork 
withdrawn, and the dice examined. They were found 
to be loaded. The true pair were concealed up his sleeve. 
His fate was sealed. In spite of desperate resistance, 
strong arms stripped him of his weapons, forced him 
into a boat and rowed him to the nearest land — a low 
sand bank entirely surrounded by the rapidly rising river. 
Upon this island, deaf to his piteous appeals, they left 
him, and the steamer resumed her course up the river. 

But long after those on board had lost sight of him, 
there came to their ears through the black darkness of 
the night, wild cries and fierce denunciations from the 
doomed gambler who had been left upon the lonely sand 
bank, which was soon to be swept by the angry waters 
of the swollen river. 

Brown hid his face in his hands and wept like a child. 
Strong men turned pale as they heard, above the dash of 
the ponderous wheels of the steamer and the rush of the 
waters, the despairing wails of the man of whose fate 
there could be no doubt, — for the strongest swimmer 
could not for a moment stem that fearful torrent, and to 
remain upon the bank was but to choose a lingering and 
more fearful death. 

There was no more gambling on board the boat that 
night; and at the first landing reached next day most of 



PRINCELY GAMBLING 



35 



the passengers left her, fleeing as if from some place ac- 
cursed. Among those who left was Brown. 

It would be profitless to follow him further, for the 
reason that this incident is simply noted in order that 
the present generation, and that to follow, may have 
some idea to what extent men went at the card table in 
the olden days when gambling was considered a proper 
and respectable occupation. 




Chapter VII 

NEWSPAPERS. 



COL. JOHN G. HARVEY, 

A Graduate of West Point Military Academy, and who was editor 
of the Alabama Beacon for fifty-five years. 



As early as 1824, and presumably earlier, there was a 
newspaper published in Greensboro called "The Hal- 
cyon," and so far as the record goes, it was the first 
publication ever issued in the town. It was edited by 
Thomas Eastin. It was a four column sheet, — dimen- 
sions 22 1-2 by 17 1-2 inches. In 1825, Mr Eastin, 
merged "The Halcyon" into the "Greene County Patriot," 



NEWSPAPERS 37 

which was also a small four-page paper, and printed it 
continuously for several years. 

From an issue of "The Halcyon" dated April 24th, 
1824, is to be noted an act of Congress for the "better 
organization of the District Court of the United States 
for the District of Alabama, approved March 8, 1824, by 
James Monroe, It also contains an act of the Legislature 
of Alabama authorizing the Governor and five Commis- 
sioners to effect a State loan of $100,000, by the issuance 
and sale of State bonds. The proceeds to be used as cap- 
ital in the State Bank then about to be established. 

Israel Pickens was then Governor, and Jas. J. Pleas- 
ants Secretary of State. 

Among the advertisments in this paper, are the follow- 
ing: 

Several lots in Demopolis, advertised by Walter Cren- 
shaw, Joseph B. Earle, Geo. S. Gaines and James Chil- 
dress, Commissioners. 

A town ordinance "to prevent the burning of coal-kilns 
within the corporate limits" of Greensboro, — signed by 
E. Clement, Intendant. 

A notice by T. C. H. Gantt, Sheriff of Greene County, 

"Hitchcock's Alabama Justice of the Peace," for sale 
by F. & E. Peck. 

"Law Notice," by John Erwin. 

"New Goods," by D. W. Edgerly & Co. 

"Caution," by Theophilus Eddins, and another, of a 
similar character, by John Stokes. 

"Executors' Notice," by Stephen Cook and John Cole- 
man. 

"Groceries For Sale," by Franklin Robinson, 

Notice of administration on the estate of Stephen Her- 
rin, dec'd., by Thos. C. Gantt, Adm'r. 

The following notice of the Mobile cotton market ap- 
pears: "Prime, 13 l-2c. — Fair, 12@12 l-2c. Inferior, 
12 1-2@ll-l-2." 

"The Halcyon" and "The Patriot" were the first papers 



38 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

ever printed in the town, and their weekly advent was 
looked forward to with great interest by subscribers, and 
others. In those days, and even down to a much later 
date, there was no personal mention of goings and com- 
ings of the citizens, nor any reports of dances, card par- 
ties, meetings of Women's Clubs, etc. Indeed, it was the 
rule with the editors of the olden time to strenuously 
avoid the mention of the name of a lady in their publica- 
tions. One of the editors belonging to the old regime — 
Col. John G. Harvey — told the writer that he thought no 
lady's name should ever appear in the public print ex- 
cept on two occasions, to-wit : When she married and 
when she died. And that was the idea entertained on the 
subject by nearly all the editors of fifty or more years 
ago. Could they come forth from their graves and take 
only a hasty glance at the average publication of to-day, 
they would be shocked beyond measure, and possibly 
think that we had fallen upon degenerate times. 

In July, 1833, The Greene County Sentinel was estab- 
lished in Greensboro by Daniel F. Brown. It was a five 
column, four page paper, and was well patronized by the 
citizens of Greene county and of Mobile in the way of 
advertising. The subscription was three dollars per year, 
or four dollars if the subscriber waited until the end of 
the year to pay the bill. We have before us a copy of the 
Sentinel of December 26, 1835. It contains such names 
of former residents of the town as Young Bohannan, who 
offers "A Reward of $5.00 for the return of a Hound Dog 
with the end of his tail cut off";" Doctors McCann & 
Thompson who offer their professional services to the 
people; William W. Jackson, notifies all persons not to 
purchase a certain note of hand which he had given B. H. 
Covington ; Dr. Wm. P. Murphy tenders his services to 
the people of Greensboro and vicinity, and advertises 
his office "at the residence of Mr. John G. Harvey op- 
posite Mr. Gayle's store;" Webb & Dugger advertise their 
mercantile business, as do also J. & G. Noble ; Wm. Myatt,. 



NEWSPAPERS 39 

Secretary of Lafayette Masonic Lodge, gives notice that 
there will be a Masonic and citizen's ball given at the 
Warrior House in Greensboro on the night of December 
28th, 1835 ; Chas. Whelan advertises new and fashion- 
able clothing, and Locke & Lowry, were merchant tail- 
ors in Greensboro seventy odd years ago; various tracts 
of land are offered for sale by John F. Sossaman, W. P. 
Brown, Wm. B. Lightfoot, George S. Dugger, John Car- 
ter, James S. Jones, Wm. F. Monett, James Yeates and 
others. The following advertisement from the Sentinel 
will prove to be something unusual to the reader of the 
present generation : 

"Public Auction — Will be sold in the Town of Greensborough, on 
the 8th day of January, 1836, to the highest bidder, 6 Likely Ne- 
groes, consisting of two Men, three Women and one Boy; all of 
which are choice field hands. Tei'ms made known on the day of 
sale. GULEELMUS WOOD." 

The Sentinel passed into the hands of Thomas DeWolf, 
who retained possession of it for a year or so, and then 
sold out to one McCormic, and he in turn sold the paper 
to John B. Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse tired of the news- 
paper business, and sold the plant to Charles Briggs, and 
in 1840 left Greensboro and became a Purser in the U. 
S. Navy. He died in Philadelphia, June 22, 1874, aged 
62 years. He was on the retired list of the Navy at the 
time of his death. During The Sentinel's varied career 
its name was changed by some one of its owners to The 
Alabama Beacon — subscription $5.00 per year in advance 
— under which title Col. John G. Harvey purchased it in 
1843 and continued its publication until his death, July 
3, 1890, when the paper passed into the hands of Jas. W. 
Bondurant, who in a year or two sold it to H. G. Benners 
and Edwin S. Jack. Mr. Benners soon purchased Mr. 
Jack's interest, and was from 1893 to 1908 the editor and 
publisher, but in the latter year he leased it to Geo. K. 
Keady, and returned to the practice of the law. The ca- 
reer of The Beacon has been a long and honorable one. 



40 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

and is linked with the history of the town for nearly 
three-quarters of a century. 

The Alabama Republican was the name of a paper that 
was published in Greensboro by Thomas DeWolf in 1839. 
How long it survived, we do not know, and of its his- 
tory we could learn nothing. 

In the year 1835 there was published in Greensboro a 
paper called the Beacon Light of Liberty, but as to its 
history we are in ignorance, nor could we ascertain any 
facts in regard to it. Back in those days the county offi- 
cials were not required to keep bound file copies of all 
newspapers published in the county, as is now the case, 
and it is a very great pity that such a law was not in force 
at that time, for the history of the progress or retrogre- 
sion of any town or city in Alabama might be accurately 
written by a study of these old papers — for the papers 
then, as now, largely reflected the life of the communities 
in which they were published. In reference to the Beacon 
Light of Liberty, one might naturally suppose that the 
Alabama Beacon was the outgrowth of this publication, 
but the facts related above in regard to The Beacon were 
obtained from Col. John G. Harvey, who owned and edit- 
ed it so long, and a more accurate and painstaking man 
in his statement of matters of fact could not be found. 

In May, 1830, Jacob I. Cribbs conducted the Greene 
County Gazette at Erie. If the old saying to the effect 
that "the good die young" is applicable to newspapers, 
The Gazette m.ust have been a very proper and well-be- 
haved periodical, for its existence extended over a period 
of only three years. 

In November, 1876, W. C. Garrett established The 
Southern Watchman in Greensboro, which he conducted 
for several years, and then sold the plant to Alex H. Wil- 
liams, who owned and edited it until his death in Novem- 
ber, 1885. The paper was then purchased by Wm. E. 
W. Yerby, the present editor and proprietor of The 
Greensboro Watchman — Mr. Yerby changing the name 



NEWSPAPERS 41 

from The Southern Watchman to The Greensboro Watch- 
man — thus giving the paper the distinction and honor of 
being the first publication ever named for the town of 
Greensboro. 

In 1902, The Greensboro Record Company established 
the Greensboro Record — Geo. K. Ready and Lee M. Otts 
editors and publishers. Mr. Ready severed his connec- 
tion with the Record in the course of a couple of years, 
and Mr. Otts has continued its publication to the present 
time. 

It will be seen from the foregoing that Greensboro 
has not at any time been without a newspaper during 
the past eighty-five years. 

To recapitulate : The list is as follows : The Halcyon, 
The Greene County Patriot, The Beacon Light of Liberty, 
The Greene County Sentinel, The Alabama Republican, 
The Alabama Beacon, The Greensboro Watchman, The 
Greensboro Record — a total of eight. 

The editors of the papers mentioned above have been, 
during the eighty-five years, as follows: Thomas Eas- 
tin, Daniel F. Brown, Thomas DeWolf, Mr. McCormic, 
John B. Rittenhouse, Charles Briggs, John G. Harvey, 
W. C. Garrett, Alex H. Williams, Wm. E. W. Yerby, Jas. 
W. Bondurant, H. G. Benners, Edwin S. Jack, George R. 
Ready, Lee M. Otts — a total of fifteen. 




Chapter VIII 

THE GREENSBORO GUARDS. 




COL. ALLEN C. JONES, 

Who was the first Captain of the Greensboro Guards, — and after- 
wards Colonel of the 5th Alabama Regiment C. S. A. 



The following is a complete list of the old Greensboro 
Guards, Company D, Fifth Alabama Regiment, Confed- 
erate States of America. This company, numbering 209, 
left Greensboro for the war on the first day of May, 1861, 
and served heroically in the fearful struggle from Bull 
Run to Appomattox : 



THE GREENSBORO GUARDS 



43 



OFFICERS: 

Allen C. Jones, Captain. 
Gid Nelson, First Lieutenant. 
M. L. Dedman, Second Lieutenant. 
E. L. Hobson, Third Lieutenant. 
John F. Christian, First Sergeant. 
Joe Borden, Second Sergeant, 
Samuel Cowin, Third Sergeant. 
J. D. Webb, Jr., Fourth Sergeant. 
Gid G. Wescott, First Corporal. 
Jonathan Williams, Second Corporal. 
E. Pompey Jones, Third Corporal. 
W. J. McDonald, Fourth Corporal. 



A. H. Moore, 
Robert Jeffries, 
John Madison, 
J. P. Moore, 

J. A. Grigg, 
J. M. Brown, 
S. V. Webb, 
T. C. Hill, 

C. T. Briggs, 
R. S. McCall, 
J. W. Wynne, 
R. B. Price, 
Gilliam James, 
W. A. Lanier, 
W. A. McCall, 

B. A. Carter, 
W. J. Jones, 

A. B. Chapman, 
Robert Lanier, 

D. T. Webster, 
Carter Adams, 
Joe Sample, 
W. C. Tunstall, 
W. G. Britton 
J. W. Crowell, 
P. H. Lavender, 
J. W. Locke, 
W. T. Jackson, 
W. A. Simms, 
W. D. Miller, 
T. B. Rowland, 
W. R. Hooper, 



PRIVATES : 

D. J. Briggs, 

B. A. Butler, 

R. A. Chadwick, 
W. W. Long, 
Wm. Clifton, 
Henry Fowler, 
W. F. Bulger, 
J. J. Givins, 

E. T. Hutchinson, 
M. H. Jones, 

G. W. Layne, 
James Pickens, 
J. C. Ray, 
J. Renki, 
R. H. Simonds, 
Robert Avery, 
H. C. Stephenson, 
R. H. Trawick, 
Ed Nutting, 
T. F. Ward, 
J. L. Youngblood, 
A. C. Waddell, 
J. W. Parker, 
W. Y. Idom, 
Max Marxtine, 
W. B. Moorman 

C. Badenhausen, 
R. H. Adams, 
G. T. Price, 
Robt. Paulding, 
Peter Huggins, 
E. T. Pasteur, 



S. J. Durrough, 
J. J. Wright, 
S. M. Willingham, 
Henry Beck, 
J. C. Orick, 
Tom Frierson, 

D. G. Williams, 

E. Y. Idom, 
A. A. Sledge, 
Will McCrary, 
Wm. Elliott, 
Lige Lawrence, 
H. T. Hollen, 
Louis Elias, 
W. J. Madison, 
C. C. Sheldon, 

A. G. Ward, 
Wm. Ellison, 
J. C. Morris, 
J. H. Bayol, 
W. W. McNeil, 
W. J. A. Little, 
L. S. Bostick, 
James McGee, 

B. H. Sheron, 
R. Moore, 
Henry Christian, 
J. W. Clements, 
J. W. Parrish, 
John Wells, 
Buck Adams, 
Jack Craddock, 



44 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



J. E. Webb, 


M. S. Ramsey, 


Lee Whelan, 


T. G. Moore, 


H. G. Geddie, 


W. S. Cowin, 


B. F. Sadler, 


F. A. Borden, 


H. M. Chadwick, 


E. T. Martin, 


John Warren, 


J. K. Elliott, 


Jas. M. Jack, 


S. B. Jackson, 


Wm. N. Knight, 


J. L. Wright, 


F. S. Huggins, 


Tink Kennedy, 


W. G. Hafner, 


W. L. Kennedy, 


L. M. Wildey, 


W. N. Glover, 


W. S. Duffie, 


J. C. McNeil, 


S. W. Chadwick, 


George Nutting, 


J. H. Lee. 


D. E. Bailey, 


C. James, 


C. L. Williams, 


Jas. Burton, 


J. D. Webb. Jr. 


N. B. Jones, 


D. L. Carroll, 


R. H. Hardaway, 


W. R. Thomas, 


H. R. Childress, 


Tom Perren, 


W. H. Allen, 


J. W. Chiles, 


G. W. Holston, 


J. T. Knowlen, 


J. A. Farrior, 


John Carberry, 


F. E. Bayol, 


W. H. Willinffham, 


John Sample, 


A. R. Morris, 


A. J. Geislin, 


B. McCrary, 


W. R. Quarles, 


C. J. Hausman, 


W. C. Croom, 


Dud Logan, 


A. Jackson, 


J. A. Hester, 


Stan Jawicki, 


Sam Wright, 


W. W. Borden, 


J. M. Martin, 


Sam Pickens, 


A. G. Coleman, 


Sam Wright, 


W. M. Pope, 


John Adams, 


W. B. Haden, 


J. C. Roberts, 


J. M. Johnson, 


Ezra Foster, 


Thomas Rhodes, 


J. E. Wheeler, 


J. W. Sanders, 


R. H. Pickering, 


L. P. Wall, 


C. E. Owens, 


D. H. Sellers, 


G. W. Wilson, 


T. W. Walthall, 


Wm. Stokes, 


J. L. Boardman, 


Coal Hargrove, 


J. S. Tucker, 


J. C. McDermaide, 


Sterling Speed, 


L. Ullman, 


J. E. Griggs, 


Wm. Tinker, 


J. B. Youngblood, 


L. D. Southworth, 


Wm. Seldon, 


W. D. Woodruff, 


J. N. C. Herran, 


J. E. Wilson, 


J. P. Arrington, 


J. F. Jackson, 


C. A. Sheldon, 


W. D. Witherspoon, 


W. H. Sheldon, 


Charles Hafner. 


D. Bai'num, 


J. H. Cowin, 





Total membership — 209. 

Allen C. Jones of this company rose to the rank of 
Colonel of the 5th Alabama Regiment. The Confederate 
Veterans' Camp of Greensboro is named in his honor. 
This Camp was organized May 25, 1889. Col. Jones died 
at his home in Greensboro on January 9, 1894, at the age 
of 82 years. 

The following is a list of Confederate officers who 
served during the war whose residence was in Greens- 
boro and Hale county : 

Col. A. C. Jones, 5th Alabama Infantry; Col. Syden- 
ham Moore, 11th Alabama Infantry; Col. Lemuel Hatch, 
8th Alabama Cavalry; Col. E. L. Hobson, 5th Alabama 



COMPANY ORGANIZED IN 1864 



45 



Infantry; Maj. James D. Webb, 51st Alabama Cavalry; 
Maj. D. T. Webster, 5th Alabama; Maj. John G. Harris, 
20th Alabama; Capt. Wm. N. Knight, 20th Alabama; 
Capt. Noah H. Gewin, 20th Alabama; Capt. A. M. Avery, 
20th Alabama; Capt. James A. Wemyss, 36th Alabama; 
Capt. J. W. A. Wright, 36th Alabama; Capt. John H. 
Turpin, 28th Alabama; Capt. F. M. Moore, Lieutenants 
H. C. Childress, J. M. Dedman, John F. Christian, E. P. 




COL. SYDENHAM MOORE. 

u^ ,,r^« ('nlnnel of the 11th Alabama Regiment. Born May 25, 

^' TsiT inS died in Richmond, Va . August 30, 1862, from 

wounds leceived in the Battle of Seven Pmes. He was the 

7ather of Mrl Harris T. Waller, of Greensboro. Ala., and also 

of Rittenhouse Moore, of Mobile. 

Jones B S Evans, Dan H. Britton, A. H. Hutchinson, 
Gideon E Nelson, W. C. Tunstall, Thomas J. Hatch, Joe 
Borden; Thomas A. Hatch, adj't 36th Alabama. 

In 1864 when the Confederacy was m desperate 
straits for' soldiers, Wm. H. King of Marion, recruited 



46 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



a company of boys between the ages of 16 and 18 years 
in the counties of Hale, Greene and Perry. Those who 
went from Greensboro and Hale county were: 

OFFICERS: 

Wm. H. King, Captain, 
Blaney Brand, First Lieutenant. 
James Tunstall, Second Lieutenant. 
Syd Woods, Third Lieutenant. 
Thomas Seay, First Sergeant. 
Thomas J. Happel, Second Sergeant. 
Aaron Lawson, Third Sergeant. 
Henry Boardman, Fourth Sergeant. 
E. A. Powers, First Corporal. 
Russell Lawless, Second Corporal. 
Dave Perry, Third Corporal. 
Joe Davis, Fourth Corporal. 



Warren E. Kennedy, 
Frank E. Robinson, 
William Tidmore, 
J. N. Chapman, 
Peyton McDonald, 
James Terry, 
William Stewart, 
William H. Sims, 
Henry Stevens, 



PRIVATES: 

Marion Wilburn, 
Garland Phipps, 
Lon Ramey, 
Cap. Stevens, 
Fred Latner, 
Joe Grimes, 
Lum Sims, 
Sam Lee 
A. J. Miller, 
Enoch Herren, 



Wilkins W. Sims, 
Charles W. Johnson, 
William Chapman, 
H. H. Johnson, 
John Owens, 
James Clements, 
Jake Johnson, 
William Ting^le, 
Tom Smith, 
Tom Herren, 

This company left Greensboro in June, 1864, and 
joined Lockhart's Battalion at Selma. Later, after see- 
ing actual service at Chehaw, they were organized into 
the 62nd Regiment, Infantry, Daniel Huger of Mobile, 
Colonel. Fort Gaines surrendered to the Federals in 
August, 1864, and the boys were made prisoners of war 
and sent to New Orleans, where they remained until 
November of the same year, and were then sent to Ship 
Island, where they remained until January, 1865, when 
they were exchanged and joined their old command at 
Mobile. 



WOMEN OF THE CONFEDERACY 47 

These gallant companies made a record during the 
war between the States of which their native town and 
county are justly proud. Many of the soldiers fell on the 
battle field, and the great majority of those who returned 
to their homes have died during the intervening period 
of nearly half a century. 

Their hopes and spirits were high when they left for 
the front, carrying with them the blessings and prayers 
of loved ones and friends. They felt that they were go- 
ing out to fame and triumph, and left with joy and glad- 
ness to serve their native land. But their going forth 
and the return of those who were spared from the shot 
and shell of battle and the ravages of disease, was in 
great contrast. 

"Going out with hopes of glory, coming in with 

sorrows dark; 
Going out with banners flying, coming in with 

mastless bark." 

But they returned not to sit idly down and lament over 
their great misfortunes, but went heroically to work 
to retrieve their fallen fortunes and to meet the changed 
conditions that had come to the land they loved so well. 

The Women of the Confederacy. 

And through it all — through the four years of bitter 
warfare — who was it that aided them most faithfully 
and loyally? Who was it that really bore the larger 
share of sorrow and suffering incident upon the cruel 
strife? Was it not the fair and beautiful women of 
the Southland? 

They were loyally true to the cause of their country, 
and thought no sacrifice too great for them to make for 
the men and boys who were at the front fighting for 
their homes and loved ones. 

As illustrative of the spirit of the Southern women 



48 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

during the dark period of war, the following letter to 
the Greensboro Beacon of April 25th, 1862, and signed 
"A Rebel Daughter of Alabama," is copied : 

"Greensboro, Alabama, April 22d, 1862. 

"Col Harvey: Whilst our fathers, brothers and friends contend 
on the gory fields for the rights of freemen, we would gladly as- 
sist in every way within the sphere of woman's influence. Will- 
ingly will we deny ourselves the luxuries of life — aye, even the 
bare necessities — and count us happy to be able to aid them in 
the glorious cause of our country's independence. We claim a 
share in the lives of our brave countrymen; they are fighting 
for our common, rights — we with willing hearts, if feeble hands, 
are engaged in the soul-inspiring cause. We expect not, nor do 
we wish a voice in the councils of our nation; ours is not the am- 
bition that would grasp the sword and take our places in the 
serried ranks of the battle field; we would only labor that our sol- 
diers lack nothing that can be provided, and pray that our faith 
in the God of Battles may be undiminished in the hour of adversity. 

(Signed) "A REBEL DAUGHTER OF ALABAMA." 

This was the spirit that animated the women of the 
South and gave faith and courage to the men at the 
front. 

The women of the South toiled unceasingly for the 
soldier boys ; they nursed them in sickness, wept when 
they died, and even down to this distant day they scatter 
choicest flowers on their graves with each recurring 
springtime; they begged for them; they sewed and knit- 
ted for them; they suffered, uncomplainingly, hardships, 
losses and privations; they wore "homespun" dresses; 
they made their own hats from palmetto; they made 
their own shoes, and knitted their own gloves and stock- 
ings; they drank cofi'ee made of wheat, okra or parched 
sweet potatoes, and tea made of raspberry leaves. They 
cared for the children and slaves, and in many instances 
superintended the plantations. 

And such women as these have been called indolent 
and self-indulgent, incapable of meeting the hard, stern 
realities of the world! In the annals of the past there 
will not be found a record of more helpful, energetic, 



MEXICAN WAR VETERANS 49 

courageous, self-reliant women than those of the South 
in the dark and gloomy days of adversity. 

While their hopes and endeavors were in vain, yet they 
had the proud satisfaction of knowing that they had dis- 
charged their duty faithfully, and that their endeavors 
were in the interest of the cause of which Earl Derby 
wrote : 

"No nation rose so white and fair, 
None fell so free of crime." 

Mexican War Veterans. 

In 1846 the United States and Mexico got into a dis- 
pute about the boundary line of Texas — Texas claiming 
the Rio Grande as the southwestern limit of her boun- 
dary, and Mexico contending that the line was the 
Uneces. A two years' war was the result of the dis- 
agreement, at the end of which period Mexico was whip- 
ped and signed a treaty of peace, in which she ceded all 
the land claimed by Texas, and also the territory com- 
prising New Mexico, Arizona and California — for the 
latter territory the United States generously paid Mexico 
sixteen and a half million dollars. 

There were a number of Greensboro people who took 
part in what is known as the "Mexican War." Captain 
Andrew L. Pickens organized a company of volunteers 
in Hale county, the company being composed of 108 mem- 
bers. It left Greensboro for the war on the 27th day 
of May, 1846. Those who joined the Greensboro "Inde- 
pendent Volunteers" in the town were: John L. Croom, 
E. B. Boast, B. F. Croom, E. A. Wemyss, Jesse J. Mel- 
ton, P. E. Wolfe, G. A. Dew, John B. Hardaway, Chas. 
H. Foster, H. Kotch, P. Moss, Christopher Owen, Rich 
Haynie, H. Williamson, Jas. S. Simmons, Jas. M. Smith, 
J. W. Hawkins, S. Wm. Morris, J. L. May, John Mar- 
shall, W. A. Bell, S. H. W. Inge, Nat M. Murphy, John 
Witherspoon, Wm. P. Evans, G. W. Briggs, W. Thomp- 



50 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

son, Powell McDonald, James N. Wood, F. M. Harriss, 
A. Evans, Wm. H. Fowler, J. R. Capell, Richard Croom, 
S. P. DuBois, D. M. Barkley, Andrew J. Briggs, Thos. 
H. Cowin, Archelaus A. Cochran, Taylor McDonald, Jas. 
J. Jetter; Edward H. Toney, F. B. Moss, David Turner, 
Jr., John S. Rhodes, Jerry Seale, John Fink. 

John L. Croom and Jesse J. Melton, so far as can be 
learned, are the only surviving members of this com- 
pany — sixty-two years after its organization. 




COL. JAMES D. WEBB, 

Who was Colonel of the 51st Alabama Regiment of cavalry. He 
was killed in battle at Shelbyville, Tenn . July 19, 1863. He is 
buried in Winchester, Tenn. Just nrior to his death he was 
promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, but did not live 
to receive his commission. He was for a number of years a 
prominent lawyer in Greensboro. 



Chapter IX 



A THRILLING INCIDENT OF THE RECONSTRUC- 
TION PERIOD. 

Those were troublous times in the Southern country 
directly after the close of the war between the States. 
While the South was not treated altogether as a sub- 
jugated province — that is to say, to the extent of the 
lands being confiscated by the victors, yet they deemed 
it necessary to send thousands upon thousands of armed 
troops to the various towns and cities, whose duty it was 
to maintain general supervision of the affairs of the 
country. Occasionally one will meet a Northerner who 
has come to the conclusion in his own mind that in real- 
ity the South was treated very leniently by his section, 
and he will point with pride to the fact that the people 
of the South were allowed to retain their lands and houses 
and personal property of varioiis kinds, in contradistinc- 
tion from the hitherto rule of war which dictated the 
taking possession of everything in the conquered terri- 
tory, and the proceeds made to swell the coffers of the 
victors. But nevertheless, it is a historical fact that 
the policy pursued by the United States government dur- 
ing the period of Reconstruction came very near com- 
pletely wrecking all that was left in the South after the 
four years of war. 

But these remarks are simply made for the purpose 
of leading up to an incident full of thrilling and dra- 
matic interest that transpired in Greensboro in 1865. 
At that time there were three companies, containing 
three hundred soldiers, camped in the town, with the 
object of keeping "order," and seeing to it that affairs 



52 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

were conducted as the general government at Washing- 
ton thought they should be. 

On the morning of August 31st, 1865, three Federal 
soldiers from this camp were seen strolling leisurely up 
the Main street of Greensboro. When they came to the 
general merchandise store of Robert B. Waller, Jr., — 
located two doors west of the present Masonic Hall 
building — they entered, and called for some fruit, which 
was passed over to them. They stood around chatting 
with each other and eating the fruit, and when they 
were about to leave the store, Mr. Waller asked for the 
price of their purchase, which they refused to pay, and 
with an oath left the store and continued on up the 
street. The merchant felt outraged over the treatment, 
and upon going to the door he saw the Captain of the 
Company to which the men belonged standing in front 
of the Tunstall building, and he immediately went to 
him and reported the conduct of his men. The Captain 
asked Waller to point the offenders out to him, which 
he did. He called them to him, and demanded, in a most 
positive manner, that they pay for the goods at once; 
and he further informed them that if he ever heard of 
their being guilty of like conduct he would have them 
tied up by their thumbs. 

The soldiers paid the money rather reluctantly, looked 
very sullen, but said nothing. Dismissing the matter 
from his mind, Mr. Waller returned to his store and 
began to wait on customers who had come in during his 
absence. 

Sitting in front of the store, enjoying the bright sun- 
shine, was Robert Jeffries, and in his lap was seated 
W. S. (Tood) Cowin, a young man who had seen much 
service in the Confederate army. After consulting to- 
gether up the street the three soldiers, who had been 
made to pay the debt they owed Waller, came back to 
the store, and without a word of warning one of the men, 
Jos. Adams, of Co. H, 11th Missouri Infantry, struck 



A THRILLING INCIDENT 



53 



Cowin a most vicious blow in the face with a slung shot 
— mistaking him (it is supposed) for the merchant who 
had reported the men to the Captain. Writhing with 
pain from the sudden and unexpected blow, and with 
the gleam of a tiger in his eyes, Cowin sprang from his 
seat, drew his pistol and fired on his assailant, but miss- 




BUILDING IN FRONT OF WHICH DIFFICULTY BEGAN. 

*Tood" Cowin was sitting near the large door to the left when 
struck by Federal soldier. 



ed him. Adams retreated hastily across the street to- 
wards Stollenwerck's drug store, and as he retreated 
he looked back to watch Cowin. When he had nearly 
reached the opposite sidewalk, Cowin steadied his pistol 



54 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

by laying it across his left arm, took deliberate aim and 

remarked, "Now d n you, I'll get you," pulled the 

trigger and sent a ball crashing through the brain of 
Adams, who fell dead in his tracks. 

When Cowin fired the first shot and missed his man,, 
another of the Federal soldiers, S. Bryant of Co. D, 11th 
Missouri Regiment, who was standing near, quickly pull- 
ed his pistol and was in the act of shooting him at close 
range, when Tom Cowin, a brother of "Tood" shot 
Bryant down before he could get his pistol in position. 
The ball entered his side, and he fell in the gutter. The 
wound, while quite severe, did not prove fatal. 

The pistol shots soon attracted a large crowd to the 
street, and in a short while the soldiers began to pour 
into the town from the camp, which was located in the 
rear of the residence of Col. George Erwin. They raged 
and swore and were beside themselves with anger when 
they learned what had transpired, and demanded, in their 
frenzy, to.be shown the man who had killed their comrade. 
Cowin saw the storm gathering and walked off down 
the street, but before he had gone a great many steps- 
he was recognized by some Federals who had witnessed 
the difficulty, and a number of the soldiers made for him, 
but Cowin faced them and kept them at bay by present- 
ing the ugly looking weapon with which he had killed 
the man who was lying in the street a short distance 
away. When he had walked sidewise to Powers' store, 
keeping the men back with the presented pistol, he no- 
ticed a horse hitched in front of the store — a magnificent 
animal that had been ridden into town that morning by 
some one from Gen. Cocke's plantation, to whom the 
horse belonged. She was a thoroughbred racer, and 
many times had come down the home-stretch a winner 
on the race-track. Now fully realizing his great dan- 
ger, Cowin sprang from the sidewalk, cut the bridle 
reins, leaped into the saddle and clapped his heels into 
the sides of the splendid charger. With a snort of fright 



A THRILLING INCIDENT 55 

at the unexpected treatment, she reared and then bounded 
away as if on the wings of the wind, while the air re- 
sounded with the angry shouts of the soldiers calling 
to those past whom the horse and rider were sweeping, 
to "stop him! Stop him!" 

Seeing that the man they most desired to capture was 
about to elude their grasp, half a dozen or more soldiers 
quickly secured horses and started in pursuit at break- 
neck speed. On and on sped the thoroughbred racer. 
She was in her element, and seemed to enjoy the wild 
dash down the public highway. And wildly and fur- 
iously also rode the pursuers. But only once or twice 
did they catch even a glimpse of horse and rider as they 
sped down some long, straight stretch of road, and then 
the crack of their pistols rang out on the air — but only 
with the effect of causing the noble racer to quicken her 
pace just a little. When about six miles out of town — 
to the westward — Cowin checked his horse and looked 
around to see if he could catch a glimpse of his pursuers, 
but no trace of them could be discovered. He then left 
the main road, and went into a thicket on a hill overlook- 
ing the surrounding country. From this position, a short 
while afterwards, he saw his pursuers, with horses under 
whip and spur, pass on down the road, and also saw them 
when on their return from their fruitless effort to cap- 
ture or kill him. The next day, Cowin was in Mississippi. 

Pandemonium reigned on the streets of Greensboro. 
Tom Cowin, who had wounded the soldier who had un- 
dertaken to shoot his brother, passed rapidly through Wal- 
ler's store — the doors being shut behind him by some 
one within — went into the back yard and came out to 
Main street near Powers' store. He was recognized by 
the Federals, and was immediately taken in charge by 
an angry mob, who swore they would hang him at once. 

A proposition was submitted that if they would wait un- 
til sundown, an effort would be made to have his brother 
"Tood" come in and give himself up, which proposition 



56 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

was agreed to; but the half dozen soldiers who had re- 
turned from the pursuit had but little hope that he 
would ever be overtaken, for they reported that they 
had ridden hard and furiously after him, but to no 
avail — that all traces of him were lost. 

Then Captain Kelley stepped to where the dead sol- 
dier was lying in the street, placed his sword across the 
body, and with a terrible oath swore that if the man 
who had slain his comrade was not delivered up to the 
soldiers by the going down of the sun, then, by all the 
gods, he purposed to hang Tom Cowin, and burn and 
sack the town. 

Squads of soldiers were deputized to go to every house 
in Greensboro and take therefrom all weapons, and to 
disarm all the citizens. Realizing the extreme gravity 
of the situation, and that the town was entirely at the 
mercy of the frenzied Federals, some of the citizens 
slipped a runner out of town on a fleet horse to Marion, 
Ala., where the colonel of the regiment (Lieut.-Col. 
Green), was stationed at that time. 

While awaiting the delivery of "Tood" Cowin to them 
by the citizens, the soldiers broke open Waller's store, 
where the difficulty began, and threw all the goods into 
the street. As the hours passed by the soldiers drank 
more freely of whiskey, grew more turbulent, and it 
seemed to those who had sent the messenger to Marion 
that he would never return. Minutes seemed hours. 

The sun began to sink in the west, and still the man 
the soldiers so much desired to get into their possession 
did not appear. They placed a rope around Tom Co- 
win's neck led him in front of the hotel — which his 
father kept — threw one end over a sign board, and stood 
facing the west, watching for the going down of the sun. 
Cowin's father stood by and urged him to die like a man, 
and he replied that he proposed to do so. Not a tremor 
passed over him, and not a trace of fear could be dis- 



A THRILLING INCIDENT 57 

cerned in his face as he looked defiance at those who had 
him at their mercy. 

When hope had gone, and the citizens thought the 
very worst would happen, the sound of horses' feet was 
heard, and looking eastward, they saw approaching at 
breakneck speed, two horses with distended nostrils and 
flecked with foam, drawing a buggy in which were two 
men — one of them proving to be the Colonel of the Regi- 
ment. Hastily alighting from the vehicle, he pushed his 
way into the midst of the vast crowd of angry, turbulent 
soldiers, and went to where Cowin was standing with the 
rope around his neck. With fire in his eye, and anger 
in his tone, he demanded of the Captain what he meant 
by allowing those under his command to be guilty of 
such conduct. The Captain related the circumstances of 
the killing of one soldier and the wounding of another 
by the Co wins, and said he thought he was justifiable. 
The Colonel replied that it was contrary to military law 
to hang a man without giving him the benefit of a court- 
martial, and that he might consider himself under arrest. 

Turning to the troops, he ordered them to fall into 
ranks. Some of them began to murmur disapproval. 
The Colonel stepped into the street, drew his pistol, and 
again commanded them in a loud voice to "fall in," and 
swore that the first man who refused to obey the com- 
mand would be shot dead in his tracks. This seemed 
to restore their reason; they fell into ranks and were 
marched back to camp. 

The rope was removed from Tom Cowin's neck and 
he was also taken to the camp, where he was held as a 
prisoner. Frank Peterson (Dr. Francis M. Peterson, 
former President of the Girls' Industrial School at Mon- 
tevallo, who died March 21, 1908) went out to the camp 
and was permitted to spend the night with his friend. 
The next day, Cowin was taken to Tuscaloosa under 
heavy guard, and placed in prison, to await trial for 



58 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

shooting the federal soldier (from which he subsequently 
escaped.) 

There is a bit of romance connected with his escape 
from prison, which shows the devotion of the Southern 
woman to the Confederate soldier, A beautiful young 
lady, who was a staunch friend of Cowin's, set herseli 
to work to liberate him. 

She was very pretty and most charming and fas- 
cinating in her manners. The young lieutenant, who 
was in charge of the prisoners, fell in love with this 
sweet Southern girl, and as the two strolled about the 
streets of classic old Tuscaloosa, or watched the placid 
flow of the river hard by the city, she would plead with 
him earnestly to allow Cowin, the friend of her child- 
hood, to escape from prison. For days and days, and 
time and again the young officer refused to grant the 
petition — stating that his honor and his position would 
not permit him to do so. Finally the young lady told 
him that she would never consent to marry him until 
her friend was a free man, and reinforced the statement 
by telling the officer never to see her again. A short 
time after this, Cowin was missing from prison. How 
he escaped or whither he went, no one knew. 

It would be a pleasing close to this bit of romance 
to be able to state that the young lady married the young 
officer — or at least that she married her friend for whom 
she pleaded — but the truth of history requires it to be 
said that she did neither, but in the after years married 
another man. 

Neither of the Cowins was ever captured by the Fed- 
eral officers. As the years passed on, and affairs quieted 
down, both of them returned to Greensboro, and re- 
sided here for quite a while — "Tood" Cowin died in the 
town a few years after the killing of the soldier; and 
Tom Cowin, after keeping the Greensboro Hotel for some 
time, went to Birmingham, where he kept a hotel. From 
there he went to Anniston, where he died June 27, 1890. 



A THRILLING INCIDENT 59 

Both the men were Confederate soldiers, and were brave 
and courageous at all times. They are buried in the 
Greensboro cemetery. 

It was never known certainly what influence was used 
to secure the safety of the Cowins after they had shot 
the soldiers, as related above, but it developed, in the 
course of time, that their father, who was quite well-to- 
do at the time of the trouble, had parted with nearly all 
his worldly possessions — and it was whispered about that 
he had let somebody have in the neighborhood of twenty 
thousand dollars — possibly in the nature of a loan. 

As the last words of this bit of tragic history are pen- 
ned, we pause for a few moments and look out upon the 
streets where, nearly half century ago, men were 
crazed, and, in their fearful passion, raged and surged 
like the mighty waves when the wind is at war with 
the ocean. But a far different scene from that presents 
itself to view. True, there stands the self-same building 
in which the awful tragedy begun ; and there, too, stands 
the self-same hotel before which the angry soldiers stood 
with halter around the neck of their intended victim, 
watching for the going down of the sun; the same blue 
sky bends above, and the same sun they watched has 
continued to make his rounds through all the many days 
that have gone to swell the mighty volume of the past 
since that far-off time. 

But no discordant note is heard — no soldiers' tread, no 
clang of arms nor shrill note of bugle call. Only a scene 
of beauty and quiet activity greets the gaze. The trees 
are just awakening from their long winter's sleep and 
are putting on their garb of green ; the birds make merry 
in the boughs, heedless of the ebb and flow of the human 
tide beneath ; men go about their business, or stand here 
and there in groups and chat pleasantly together ; bevies 
of beautiful girls, with smiling faces and queenly step, 
pass up and down the streets where once tumult and 



€0 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



riot reigned supreme; while childhood's merry peals of 
laughter come in at the open window. 

And then it is that we fully realize that a new genera- 
tion has appeared upon the stage of action — a generation 
that is the successor to the noblest and truest of which 
the South can boast in all its glorious history — one whose 
deeds of valor and patriotism will live in song and story 
for ages yet unborn. And with the ushering in of the 
present generation, sectional strife and bitterness have 
passed away. It is a generation (while doubting the 
wisdom of the course pursued by the authorities at Wash- 
ington in their treatment of the Southern people during 
those half dozen dark and gloomy years immediately suc- 
ceeding the close of the war) who rejoice in a re- 
united country, and would seal its devotion to the Stars 
and Stripes by defending the honor of the Flag on the 
battlefield ; yet, it is a generation that looks with pride 
and approval upon the conduct of their forefathers in 
their noble defence of the Stars and Bars, and a genera- 
tion that will ever treasure that conduct as the richest 
heritage to which it has fallen heir. 




THE GREENSBORO HOTEL. 
(Property of J. A Blunt.) 



THE KU KLUX KLAN 61 

The Kii Kliix Klan. 

During reconstruction times in Greensboro, and in 
fact, throughout the South, what was known as the Loyal 
League was organized by Northern adventurers who 
came, like a swarm of vultures, to prey upon what was 
left in this section from the wreck of the war. The ob- 
ject of this league was to enlist all negroes in an oath- 
bound society pledging them to support the Radical can- 
didates for office and the measures they advocated. Soon 
the affairs of government passed out of the hands of 
those who by right should have filled the offices, and un- 
der the administration of these unscrupulous men, who 
had been elevated to position by the votes of the ignorant 
and vicious negroes, who had been released from slavery 
only a short while, life in Greensboro and the South gen- 
erally became almost unbearable. Some answer, it was 
realized, must be given the Loyal League, and it was 
found in the Ku Klux Klan. This order was composed of 
the native white men of the South — many of whom, in fact 
most of them, had served in the Confederate army. They 
were a determined body, and resolved to rid the country 
of the objectionable characters that had flocked in by 
the score with the hope of adding gain to their worldly 
wealth. They, too, had an oathbound society, and to 
this good day, (forty years after) the secrets of the Ku 
Klux Klan have not been told. They are known to a few 
survivors of the brotherhood, but they rarely discuss the 
matter with anyone. These men had the good of their coun- 
try at heart, and only disciplined those characters who 
fermented strife between the races, and endangered the 
safety of the community. Their mission was not mur- 
der, as has been charged by those who came, possibly, 
under the ban of their displeasure, but was corrective 
in its nature. They would take a man out — it mattered 
not whether he was white or black — and give him a 
sound thrashing, and order him to mend his conduct. 



62 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

The lesson was generally heeded, and but little trouble 
ever came from anyone who had been waited upon by 
members of this Klan. 

There surrounded the Ku Klux that atmosphere of 
mystery that is ever appalling to humanity. They al- 
ways arrayed themselves in a peculiar garb, consisting 
of a white robe, and covered their faces with a white 
mask. Their horses were blanketed in white, and as they 
silently rode through the street or down some lonely road 
at the dead of night, the evil-doers trembled with fear. 
It was seldom that an order was ever issued, or a word 
spoken. Those who had the real interest of their re- 
spective communities at heart hailed the presence of the 
Ku Klux with joy, while the ignorant and vicious, who 
cared not for the welfare of the town or country, stood 
in awe and dread. 

The Ku Klux first made their appearance in Greens- 
boro in March, 1868, and their presence was made known 
by hand bills that were posted up at various places on 
the streets. The following was the 

KU KLUX KLAN ORDER. 

K. K. K. 

BLOODY MONTH, 
CLOUDY MOON— LAST HOUR, 

Special Order No. 92 — Shrouded Bi-otherhood of 
Hale Division, No. 314. 

The Great Past High Giant commands you. The dark and dis- 
mal hour will soon be here. Some live to-day, to-morrow die. 
Be Ye Ready! The whetted sword, the bullet red — and right ai'e 
ours. Be vigilant and firm. Dare not wear the holy garb of our 
mystic brotherhood save in quest of Blood. Mark well our friends. 
Let the guilty beware. Everywhere our brotherhood appears. 
Traitors, beware! 

II. Burst your cerement asunder! Meet at the den! "The 
glow of the worm shows the motion to be near." Silence! Watch- 
fulness! Patience! Faithfulness! The guilty SHALL BE pun- 
ished! 

By order of Great Grand Cyclops, 

Samivel, N. S. O. E. T. 



THE KU KLUX KLAN 63 

Headquarters Cyclops Circle, Spirit Cove, March 15, '68. 
Grand Cyclops, Hale County, Ala.: 

Sprinkle ye the tombs with Blood! Brothers of the shroud take 
heed, and enforce ye these orders. Blood! Blood! Blood! Re- 
venge! Revenge! Revenge! Let the guilty beware, the day 
of retribution is at hand — BLOOD is our motto! Look wild 
Shrouds of Hale and enforce all these orders. 

(A. M. U.) Grand Cyclops. K. K. K. Life Extinguishers. 

Notices of like character appeared in nearly all the 
towns of Alabama, and it was not long before the mili- 
tary authorities of the United States undertook to crush 
the Klan. Stringent orders were issued from the head- 
quarters at Montgomery, declaring that "outrages 
against life, the peace and good order of the community" 
were being perpetrated by a "band disguised with masks 
and styling itself the Ku Klux Klan," and constituted a 
public evil. The sheriffs, mayors, marshals, magistrates, 
constables, chiefs of police, and police, the order declared, 
would be held responsible for the suppression of the 
organization, and the apprehension of its members wher- 
ever found. All placards and newspaper cards of the 
Ku Klux Klan were placed under the ban, and dire pun- 
ishment was threatened all who failed to aid the military 
authorities in disbanding the Ku Klux. The order issu- 
ing from Montgomery on April 4, 1868, was signed by 
0. L. Shepherd, Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General, 
and W. T. Hartz, Brevet Major, U. S. A. 

One would naturally suppose that such an order, back- 
ed by all the power of the United States government, 
would have had the effect of causing the Ku Klux to 
immediately disband, but such was not the case. Con- 
ditions were such in this section during the reconstruction 
period that the men composing the organization had 
rather have died than to have sit idly down and passively 
endured them without a protest. The Klan continued to 
exist for several years after the issuance of the stren- 
uous orders, in nearly all the Southern States. 

While much of evil is charged to the account of the Ku 



64 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



Klux Klan as a whole, there is no doubt that the branch 
organization that existed in Greensboro accomplished 
much good in the matter of bringing about a more endur- 
able condition of affairs in Greensboro and Hale county. 
It filled its mission, and quietly passed out of existence. 




Chapter X 

CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS. 




THE OLD CONFEDERATE MONUMENT. 
Erected in 1872 in the Greensboro Cemetery. 

After several years of agitation and earnest work, the 
citizens of Greensboro raised a sufficient amount to pur- 
chase a modest monument, and erected it in the Greens- 
boro cemetery to the memory of the Confederate soldiers. 
The work was completed in March, 1872. and the treas- 
urer, Mr. Charles E. Waller, reported the total cost of 
the monument, including erection, to be $204.50. On 



66 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

the 26th of the following April, the monument was duly 
dedicated. The following account of the proceedings 
was written for The Beacon by the late Col. Harvey, then 
editor of that paper : 

"Pursuant to a custom which has been observed for five or six 
years, Friday, the 26th of April, was observed by the citizens of 
Greensboro as the day for decorating the graves of those Con- 
federate soldiers whose remains were interred in our cemetery. 

"A procession was formed at the Presbyterian church, about 

4 p m., composed of the Sunday School scholars of the different 

churches, the Greensboro Brass Band, and Fire Company, and 

the citizens of the place generally, in the following order: 

Greensboro Brass Baiid. 

Greensboro Fire Company, with Banner. 

Orator, ivith Committee of Citizens. 

Presbyterian Sunday School. 

Methodist Sunday School. 

Episcopal Sunday School. 

Citizens on Foot. 
Carriages ivith Citizens. 

"Col. Allen C Jones, as Marshal of the occasion, marched the 
procession through Main street to the cemetery, where a stand 
had been erected for the speaker and where a large crowd had 
collected in advance of the procession. 

"The ceremonies of the occasion wei'e opened with prayer, by 
the Rev R. H. Cobbs — after which. Col. Jones introduced John 
T. Walker, Esqr., as the orator. 

"Mr. Walker's address was highly appropriate, chaste, beauti- 
ful and eloquent. 

"Through the praiseworthy efforts of a few of our citizens — 
prominent among whom are Dr. Jas. D. Osborn. Chas. E. Waller, 
Esqr., Mrs. Dr. Ward. Miss Julia Tutwiler and Miss Mary Jack- 
son — a handsome marble monument has been erected in the Greens- 
boro cemeterv, having inscribed upon it the names of those Con- 
federate soldiers, from this place or vicinitv who lost their lives 
in battling for the "Lost Cause" — so dear to them and to those 
who now revere and honor their memories. The monument was 
decorated with beautiful wreaths of flowers and evergreens." 

Thirty-two years after the erection of the monument 
in the cemetery— that is to say, in April, 1904 — the 
beautiful monument on the Court House square was com- 
pleted. It represents much labor on the part of the 
Ladies' Memorial Association of Greensboro, who for 
many years worked to raise the necessary amount to pay 
for it. The cost was about $1,500.00. 



CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS 67 

On May 12th, 1904, the monument was duly unveiled 
with appropriate ceremonies. Mrs. Mary G. Pickens, 
Chairman of the Committee and Treasurer of the Mon- 
ument Fund, read the report from the Memorial Asso- 
ciation, the concluding portion of which was as follows : 

"We commend the monument to the loving care of the Memorial 
Association, Daughters of the Confederacy and Veterans. It is 
placed on a spot given for that purpose by the Hale county com- 
missioners, and we give it into the sacred care and protection of 
our Mayor and Town Authorities and our entire community, and 
sincerely thank all who have helped us in any way. 

Respectfully, 

Mrs. R. J. Nelson, 
Miss Martha Young, 
Miss Mary E. Avery, 
Mrs. C. J. Pierce, 
Mrs. Mary G. Pickens." 

Wm. E, W. Yerby accepted the monument in behalf of 
the town as follows : 

"Ladies of the Memorial Association : 

In behalf, and in the name of the Mayor and Council of the 
town of Greensboro, we accept the beautiful monument you have 
here erected in memory of our Confederate soldiers, and pledge 
the city's honor to throw arovmd it that care and protection it 
may demand, for we realize that this shaft of granite and marble 
represents many years of labor on your part, and it silently speaks, 
in strains as sweet as angels use, of your love and devotion to 
the memory of those heroes whose valor and patriotism fill one 
of the brightest pages of the world's history. Nearly forty long 
and eventful years have passed away since the close of that bloody, 
fratricidal strife, but the memory of the gallant deeds and heroic 
conduct of the boys who wore the gray, is as fresh and green in 
the hearts of our fair and beautiful women as if the tragic event 
in our counti-y's history had happened only yestei-day. To you all 
honor and praise! 

While we need no columns of brass or of stone to cause us to 
remember our heioic dead, nor to remind us of our duty to those 
who were their companions in arms on many hard fought battle 
fields, yet it is mete and proper that our love for them, and the 
cause for which they fought, should be expressed in tangible form, 
so that those who come among us from afar may know we revere 
their memory and gallant deeds, and that their glory shall never 
be forgotten "while fame her record keeps, or honor points to the 
hallowed spot where valor proudly sleeps." 

"Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone 

In deathless song shall tell 
When many a vanquished age hath flown 

The story how they fell; 
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight, 



68 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



Nor Time's remorseless doom 
Shall dim one ray of glory light 
That gilds their deathless tomb." 

Ex-Governor Wm, C. Gates then delivered a patriotic 
oration, at the close of which the stature of the Confed- 
erate soldier adorning the top of the monument was un- 
veiled, and the ceremonies ended. 




THE NEW CONFEDERATE MONUMENT. 

Erected in 1904 in front of the Court House. 



Chapter XI 

RAILROADS. 

There has been but one raih'oad in Greensboro 
— known at present as the Akron branch of the South- 
ern Railway. It was projected by the late General N. B. 
Forrest, the famous Confederate cavalry leader, who 
was quite a familiar figure on the streets of Greensboro 
during the latter part of the sixties and the early seven- 
ties. The road was formerly known as the Selma, Ma- 
rion & Memphis Railroad, and also as the Selma & Mo- 
bile Railroad. 

In 1869, the town of Greensboro issued $15,000 worth 
of bonds to aid in the construction of the road to this 
place. A direct tax was put on the citizens to pay in- 
terest on the bonds and to provide a sinking fund to pay 
off the indebtedness. The obligation has been met. 
There are at present only a few thousand dollars worth 
of the old bonds outstanding against the town. 

In this connection it will be of interest to note that the 
County of Hale also voted a bond issue of $60,000 in 
1869 to aid in the building of the road. All of said bonds 
— principal and interest — have been paid in full by the 
citizens of Hale — who were taxed directly for the pur- 
pose for about thirty-five years. 

The railroad was completed to Greensboro on Novem- 
ber 4th, 1870 — work having been suspended on it for 
some months when it reached Newbern, nine miles below 
Greensboro, to which place the citizens went by hack to 
catch the train going to Selma, until the trains begun to 
make the trip from this point — and the laying of the 



70 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO. ALA. 



last rail was celebrated by a grand barbecue and public 
speaking by prominent Greensboro people. General For- 
rest, the President of the road, was present, and was 
very highly commended for his indomitable energy in 
successfully completing the work under so many adverse 
circumstances. 

It was hoped that the line would be at once extended 
to the then objective point, (Eutaw) but for twelve years 
Greensboro was practically the terminus of the road. 
It was not until 1882 that the road was completed ta 




GEN. NATHANIEL BEDFORD FORREST. 

From a portrait in possession of his descendants in Memphis, 
Tenn., and regarded by them as the only good likeness in 
existence. 



Akron and the first train was run to that point. There 
it connects with the Alabama Great Southern Railroad, 
and at Selma it connects with the Southern Railway to 
Rome, Ga., and Meridian, Miss. 



RAILROAD 71 

As stated above, General Forrest was quite a familiar 
figure on the streets of Greensboro during the construc- 
tion of the railroad. He was a man who carried with him 
into his business life all those extraordinary physical, 
moral and intellectual qualities that distinguished him as 
a soldier. He was of commanding presence — being about 
six feet, two inches in height, and before his health was 
impaired by wounds received on the battlefields and by 
hard marches, his weight was one hundred and eighty 
to ninety pounds. In physical strength he was a match 
for a prize ring champion. His hair was jet black, his 
skin dark, eyes blue and mild enough till the devil within 
was aroused, and then they flashed green. He was the 
idol of the soldiers during the war, but as a business man 
he made many enemies by his overbearing and dictato- 
rial manner. Some eminent men have adjudged that For- 
rest was really the greatest genius developed by the war 
between the States, so far as generalship was concerned. 
After completing his railroad work in this section, he 
moved to Memphis, Tenn., where he died some years ago. 

The following incident in reference to the signing of 
the bonds issued by Hale County to aid in the construc- 
tion of the railroad by General Forrest, is worthy of note : 
After the $60,000 worth of bonds were printed, the pro- 
bate judge of the county refused to sign them as required 
by law. General Forrest employed an attorney and de- 
manded to be heard in the probate court in regard to 
the matter. A session of the court was called, the pro- 
bate judge took his seat on the bench, and the General's 
lawyer arose and made a very learned and exhaustive 
argument on the subject of the judge's duty to sign the 
bonds. In the course of the argument the attorney used 
many high-sounding legal phrases— such as "nunc pro 
tunc," "nolens volens," "amicus curiae," etc. The judge^ 
who, by the way, was not a lawyer, seemed to get very 
angry as the lawyer indulged in these Latin phrases. At 



72 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

the conclusion of the lengthy argument the judge said 
in a very determined manner, addressing the plaintiff's 
attorney : 

"Sir, I don't give a damn about your nunc pro tunes, 
your nolens volenses or your amicus curis. I am not 
going to sign them bonds!" 

The announcement aroused the anger of the lawyer, 
and he jumped up and started for the judge, who quick- 
ly reached under his desk and pulled a six shooter and 
held it on the astonished limb of the law. 

As quick as a flash, Gen. Forrest, who was sitting near 
the judge, grabbed the pistol from his hand, caught him 
by the collar, dragged him from the bench and very quiet- 
ly said : 

"Wall, Jedge, I don't care a damn whether you sign 
them bonds nunc pro tunc, nolens volens or amicus curi ; 
you are going to sign 'em. Come along in here with me!" 
And the general led the judge into an ante-room, where 
they remained about half an hour. 

When they came back into the court room the judge 
was smiling and at once signed the bonds. 

What took place in the little private conference between 
Gen. Forrest and the judge will never be known. 

General Forrest was probably the most daring and 
successful cavalry leader on either side in the civil war. 
He had the confidence of his men in a large degree, and 
they willingly followed him in his desperate encounters 
with the Federals. There were a number of cavalrymen 
from Greensboro and Hale county in his command — Dr. 
S. C. Carson, Dr. L. D. Webb and Judge W. C. Christian 
of the number. 

Dr. Carson relates that while Forrest's cavalry was in 
camp at Ebenezer church, near Plantersville, Alabama, 
seventeen Federal soldiers made a sudden charge upon 
the Confederate lines, taking them wholly by surprise. 
The Doctor says he saw General Forrest rush forward 
to the encounter with a pistol in each hand and shoot down 



BANKS 73 

three of the enemy. The seventeen Federals, the Doctor 
says, were as brave men as ever v^ent upon a battlefield. 
They asked no quarter and gave none. It was a fool- 
hardy undertaking and everyone of them paid the penalty 
with his life. 

Col. L. J. Lawson and J. D. Hamilton enlisted in 1863 
as members of Company B, 7th Alabama, Forrest's Ca- 
valry, and were with the company until the end of the 
war in 1865. 

It is the concensus of opinion of the old soldiers of the 
Confederacy now residing in this section, that if it had 
not been for the aggressive and fearless manner in which 
Forrest and his cavalry kept the Federals at bay, that 
Greensboro, Marion, Eutaw and other towns m this part 
of Alabama would have been destroyed by the enemy. 
The Federals did not get to Greensboro during the four 
years of the war. 

Banks. 

In February, 1854, the Planters' Insurance Company 
was incorporated in Greensboro, Books for subscription 
to the capital stock were opened March 17th, 1854, and 
stock to the amount of $130,000 was subscribed. Henry 
Watson, Esq., was the President. The company did a 
general insurance business and also a banking business, 
and was the first banking establishment ever in the town. 
It proved a great convenience to the citizens who had 
formerly done their banking business with the commis- 
sion merchants and banks of Mobile and Selma. At the 
breaking out of the war between the States, in 1861, all 
except $50,000 of the capital stock was returned to the 
stockholders, this amount being retained to keep alive 
the charter, and business was abandoned until better 
times should arrive. The war lasted so long, and its 
termination was so uncertain, that the company sold its 
real estate and personal effects and closed out the entire 



74 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



concern, paying to the stockholders the capital and sur- 
plus in full. This was done in February, 1865. The 
company was never revived, and for ten years Greens- 
boro was without banking facilities. The Planters' In- 
surance Company owned and did business in the store 
house on Main street owned of more recent years by the 
late W. G. Miller. 




HENRY WATSON, 

Who was a prominent citizen of Greensboro from 1838 to 1861. 
He was a law partner of Hon. John Erwin and was also the 
President of the fii'sc banking institution in the town. Died 
in 1891 in Northampton, Mass. 



As indicative of the scope of the business engaged in 
by the Planters' Insurance Company, the following ad- 
vertisement is copied from a publication of 1856: 

PLANTERS' INSURANCE COMPANY. 
Capital Stock $130,000. 
This Company, located at Gi-eensboro. in Greene County, Ala- 



BANKS 75 

bama, with a perpetual Charter, and a capital of $130,000, all paid 
in and securely invested, will do a general Insurance Business. 
Public buildings, stores, stocks of merchandise, dwelling houses, 
gin houses and cotton warehouses, insured against loss by fire 
at reasonable rates. River and Marine risks taken, and insurance 
made upon the Lives of White Persons and of Slaves, and upon 
live stock. The well known standing and safety of this Com- 
pany, and its convenient location, it is believed, will secure to it 
a preference where Insurance is desired. Money received on de- 
posit with or without interest. Terms of deposit made known at 
the office of the Company. Loans made upon Bills of Exchange 
at 8 per centum per annum. 

Gideon E. Nelson, 
John Erwin, 
Henry Watson, 
James A. Wemyss, 

Board of Directors. 
HENRY WATSON, President. 
SERENO WATSON, Secretary. 

Sereno Watson, the Secretary, after the liquidation of 
the Planters' Insurance Company in Greensboro, went 
to Massachusetts, and subsequently became a very dis- 
tinguished botanist. At the time of his death, which oc- 
curred at Cambridge, Mass., March 9, 1892, he was Cura- 
tor of the Herbarium of Harvard College. 

On January 1st, 1875, D. F. McCrary gave notice to 
the public that he had opened an Exchange and Banking 
office in Greensboro, and that he would buy and sell ex- 
change on all points and would also receive money on 
deposit and pay out same on checks free of charge. He 
advertised that he had "one of the famous Speigle-eisen 
Safes with combination lock." 

Mr. McCrary continued in the banking business until 
1881 when he was succeeded by Dr. A. Lawson, who con- 
ducted the business until 1905 when "The Peoples Bank 
of Greensboro, Alabama," was incorporated under the 
laws of the State, with a capital stock of $50,000, of 
which institution Dr. Lawson was made President by the 
stockholders. 

James B. Coleman conducted a bank in Greensboro 
early in the "80's" but discontinued business in a few 
years. 



76 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Shelby W. Chadwick also did a banking business for 
some time, and was succeeded by M. Jones & Son, who, 
in 1900, were succeeded by Lee M. Otts. After conduct- 
ing the bank as a private banking institution for a few 
years, Mr. Otts converted it into "The First National 
Bank of Greensboro, Alabama," with a capital stock of 
$50,000 and conducted it as such until 1904. 

In 1894 "The Bank of Greensboro, Ala.," was organiz- 
ed with Col. C. Derrick as President, who was succeeded 
in 1896 by J. A. Blunt. It was conducted under this 
name until 1904, when "The Bank of Greensboro" bought 
out the First National Bank from Mr. Otts, and assumed 
its name, and increased the capital stock from $50,000 
to $100,000. Mr. Blunt was continued as President of 
the First National Bank, and Mr. Charles Stollenwerck 
was made cashier, both these gentlemen holding their 
respective positions to the present time. 

In more than half a century in the history of banking 
in Greensboro, there has never been a bank failure, which 
record speaks for itself and the gentlemen who have con- 
ducted the institutions. 

Cotfo7i Warehouses. 

In April, 1871, A. H. Ravesies & Co., established a 
cotton warehouse at the Greensboro depot, and conducted 
it as such until they were bought out by A. C. Evans, 
who for a number of years carried on the business of 
storing cotton. Mr. Evans in turn was bought out by 
Messrs. J. A. Blunt and T. R. Ward, who constructed a 
large brick warehouse, most of the materials used there- 
in being taken from the wreckage of the "Nelson House," 
the largest, most commodious and most beautiful resi- 
dence ever constructed in Greensboro. It was built by 
Gideon Nelson sometime in the latter part of the fifties, 
at a cost of nearly a hundred thousand dollars. 

The floors of the lower story were of the finest marble, 



COTTON WAREHOUSES 



77 



and the ceilings were frescoed by painters from abroad. 
It was a gorgeous place. There were fountains in the 
front yard, and rarest shrubbery and trees adorned the 
place. The war wrecked the fortunes of the Southern 
planters, and after Mr. Nelson's death the house passed 
into the hands of various parties, and was finally torn 
down and the materials, as before stated, were used in 
the construction of the warehouse at the depot. In what 
was the front yard to this splendid mansion, there are 
now located some half dozen or more neat cottages. The 
warehouse constructed of the Nelson home materials 
was destroyed by fire in October, 1906, together with 
a large amount of cotton, which was paid for by the 
Southern Railway, as it was proven that a train on that 
road caused the fire. The present commodious ware- 
house is the successor to the one destroyed by fire. It 
was built by Mr. J. A. Blunt in 1907, he having bought 
out the interest of Mr. Ward in the business. 






Chapter XII 

THE GREENSBORO FEMALE ACADEMY. 




THE OLD GREENSBORO FEMALE ACADEMY. 

The brick poi-tion has been standing for nearly three-quarters of 

a century. 



In December, 1839, a meeting was held in the Greens- 
boro Lyceum by the subscribers to the building fund of 
the Greensboro Female Academy. For a long while 
prior to this time a female school had been conducted in 
the same lot on which the Academy building now stands. 
Judge Pasteur was principal and was assisted by Miss 
Mary Lawson. Edwin Fay was the principal in 1839, 
and possibly further back, but no records on the sub- 
ject are available. 

At this meeting of the subscribers to the building fund 
the following board of trustees was elected : John Er- 
win, chairman, J, M. Witherspoon, John May, James Mc- 



GREENSBORO FEMALE ACADEMY 79 

Donald, Matthew Hobson, Wiley J. Croom, and Robert 
Waller. John Fife was made secretary of the board. 
At the first meeting of this board of trustees, Edwin Fay 
was elected as president of the Academy, and Miss Ruth 
White as music teacher, and Dr. Bradford assistant 
music teacher. 

In 1840, a contract was let to Jesse Gibson and Clau- 
dius Jones for $6,345 to make necessary "additions to the 
present academy building." The work was finished in 
1841, and in that year Edwin Fay resigned as president 
of the Academy and Rev. Daniel P. Bestor was elected 
to succeed him. 

On December 29th, 1841, the act of the legislature 
incorporating "The Greensboro Female Academy," was 
approved. The incorporators mentioned in the Act were : 
Robert C. Randolph, James M. Witherspoon, Daniel P. 
Bestor, John May, James McDonald, Matthew Hobson, 
and Robert B. Waller. 

The school was among the best and most prosperous 
in this section for a number of years, and was attended 
by young ladies from many portions of Alabama. The 
prescribed course of study the year of incorporation was : 
Spelling, reading, writing, grammar, geography, mathe- 
matics, philosophy, chemistry, history, logic, French, 
Latin, drawing, painting, ornamental work and music. 

A complete list of the presidents of the Greensboro 
Female Academy is as follows : Judge Pasteur, Edwin 
Fay, Rev. Daniel P. Bestor, C. J. D, Pryor, Rev. James C. 
Mitchell, Rev. C. E. Brame, A. H. Hutchinson, N. T. Lup- 
ton and J. C. Wills, Miss Julia Tutwiler, P. B. Capbell, 
Miss Mary Avery (filled out unexpired term of P. B. 
Capbell in 1874) Rev. Thomas Ward White, Rev. W. C. 
Clark, D. P. Christenberry, J. B. Cassidy, Rev. W. G. 
Keady. 

In 1876, Miss Bettie Lou Clark (afterwards Mrs. Pyr- 
nell) the author of "Diddy, Dumps and Tot," a most pop- 
ular book with children, was a teacher in this Academy. 



80 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

From 1865 to 1871, the school was not opened on ac- 
count of the stringency of the times immediately follow- 
ing the close of the civil war, and really it was never 
again as successful as it was prior to the war. It was 
again closed from 1877 to 1883, when Mr. Clark took 
charge of the institution. Some time during the inter- 
vening six years the trustees of the AcacTemy opened 
subscriptions for money with which to repair and make 
additions to the building, and about $4,000 was raised 
for this purpose. The large frame structure on the north 
side of the brick portion of the Academy was added. 
The last president was Dr. W. G. Keady, who gave the 
school up in 1900, since which time the property has 
been rented to the board of trustees of the Greensboro 
Graded School, where a large and successful public school 
has since been conducted. 

The title to the property of the Greensboro Female 
Academy is vested in the board of trustees of that insti- 
tution, who, it would appear from the mtnutes of the 
board, hold it in trust for the "stockholders" — said stock- 
holders being composed of all those who contributed as 
much as $25.00 towards the building fund. These stock- 
holders held elections annually for the election of seven 
trustees, to whom was turned over the management of 
the property and the selection of a president. 

The Greensboro Female Academy numbers many most 
excellent women among its graduates, who are scattered 
far and wide, and it was a source of regret to all when 
the doors of the time-honored institution were closed. 

Public School. 

In 1858, Miles Hassell Yerby, a graduate of the State 
University at Tuscaloosa, came to Greensboro and taught 
the first public school near the town of which any record 
can be found. The school house was situated outside of 
the corporate limits, northeast of Greensboro, across 



PUBLIC SCHOOL 81 

Caldwell creek. The school was attended by many 
boys, who in after life, attained to prominence in the 
affairs of church and state. The location of the school 
was changed after the war, and the building on Centre- 
ville street then known as the Gibson place, was used 
for a long while as a school house. From the old record 
before us for 1869, (the only one that could be found) 
the following pupils were enrolled in the Greensboro 
Public School for that year: Reuben C. Johnson, Frank 
Johnson, Andrew W. Owens, Nelson Owens, Morris 
Steinhart, Charlie Steinhart, Jeff D. Steinhart, Joe Stock- 
ton, Willie Stockton, Joe Stokes, Dan Taylor, Milford 
Harris, Filmore Norfleet, Will Miller, Jeff Evans, Willie 
McGee, John Musy, John Yerby, Willie Yerby, Tom Tay- 
lor, Syd Taylor, Alex Davis, Willie DuBose, Willie Kenan, 
Ed Williamson, Steve Williamson, Albert Williamson, 
Ed Bell, John Bell, Mary Herran, Bettie Sharon, Rosa 
Sharon, Julia Wilburn, Fannie Owens, Sallie Owens, Bet- 
tie Andrews, Lida Miller, Alice Sledge, Jessie Yerby, Bet- 
tie McDonald, Ida Steinback, Sallie Blanton, Alice Blan- 
ton. 

The teachers of the public school have been, in all its 
history, as follows : M. H. Yerby, Mrs. Mary Happel 
and Mrs. M. A. Hutchinson, Miss Sallie Pasteur, Mrs. 
J. M. Pickett and Miss Maggie Pickett, W. W. Lee, J. A. 
Baxley, 

The present school is known as "The GreensDoro Grad- 
ed School," and is taught in the old Female Academy 
building on Demopolis street. There is an attendance of 
about 130 pupils, and besides the principal, there are 
four assistant teachers. 

The old school house on Centreville street presents 
much the same appearance now it presented some forty 
years ago, and the picture will no doubt be recognized 
by many of the former pupils, scattered far and wide 
over the face of the earth, into whose hands a copy of 
this volume should chance to fall. But they will miss 



82 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



the wide-spreading elm trees in the yard — only one of 
the many now remaining, and it is gnarled, and the 
branches have been broken and torn by the winds that 
have angrily passed through them these many years. 
They will also miss the stately poplars on the hillside 




THE OLD PUBLIC SCHOOL HOUSE ON 
CENTREVILLE STREET. 



just north of the building, and the forest trees and the 
"big swamp" in the rear of the play ground. And the 
flowers have blossomed and faded above the grave of 
the highly educated and painstaking schoolmaster of the 



PUBLIC SCHOOL 



83 



old days for nearly ten years. He rests from life's labors 
in the quiet city of the dead in Greensboro among loved 
ones, friends and former pupils. 

The same babbling brook is at the foot of the little 
hill to the north of the house, but the shade trees and 
the violets are gone, and the spot is no longer an invit- 
ing place for the school boy to stroll side by side with 
his first sweetheart and gather the wild flowers for 
her — as the boys used to do in the years that are dead. 




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Chapter XIII 

THE SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY. 

The greater portion of the following brief history of 
the Southern University was compiled by Prof. D, P. 
Christenberry, Professor of English in the University. 

The agitation which led to the founding of the South- 
ern University began at the twenty-third session of the 
Alabama Conference, Talladega, Ala., December, 1854. 
At this Conference much enthusiasm was aroused. 

In 1855 the Conference met at Eutaw. After much 
debate it was decided to found a college at Greensboro, 
and Col. John Erwin, of Greensboro, was appointed to 
secure a charter of the legislature. 

At the first meeting of the Board, March, 1856, at 
Greensboro, were the following trustees : Bishops Jas. 
0. Andrew and Robert Payne, Rev. Doctors T. 0. Sum- 
mers, Archelaus H. Mitchell, Jeff'erson Hamilton, Philip 
P. Nedy and Edward Wadsworth, Revs. Christopher C. 
Callaviay, Joseph J. Hutchinson, Joshua T. Heard, Thos. 
J. Koger, Lucius Q. C. DeYampert, Col. John Erwin, 
John W. Walton, Thomas M. Johnston, RoTDert A. Baker, 
Gideon E. Nelson, Doctors Thos. W. Webb and Gaston 
Drake. In the charter appear in addition to the above 
names the following: Judge Augustus A. Coleman, 
Duke W. Goodman and Rev. Henry W. Hilliard. 

Col. Erwin was called to the chair and presented the 
charter dated January 26, 1856. The charter was se- 
cured over the veto of Governor Winston. 

At this, the first meeting, a report was made by the 
agent, Rev. C. C. Callaway, showing that $168,500 had 



86 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

been raised, $100,000 of which was secured by the en- 
dorsement of L. Q. C. DeYampert, John Walton, Gideon 
Nelson and others. The whole of this amount was se- 
cured from Greene and Sumter counties. A site was 
bought costing $6,400. During the next year, the agent 
raised $40,508, having visited only eight counties. 

At the second annual meeting, June 11, 1857, with 
much pomp and splendor of military parade, bands and 
music, the cornerstone was laid. Col. Wiley, Masonic 
Grand Master of Alabama presided. Bishop Pierce and 
Col. Milliard made the addresses. 

The first session opened October 3, 1859, with the fol- 
lowing faculty : Dr. William W. Wightman, President 
and Professor Biblical Literature ; N. Thomas Lupton, 
A. M., Professor of Chemistry; Oscar F. Casey, A. M., 
Professor of Ancient Languages ; Edward Wadsworth, 
A. M., Professor of Moral Philosophy; John C. Wills, A. 
M., Professor of Mathematics. 

At the first commencement, the date of which was fixed 
for the first Wednesday in July, 1860, Benjamin Huey, 
of Talladega, and John V. Glass of Pickens county, grad- 
uated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. 

The faculty in 1861 reported much excitement among 
the boys on account of the war between the States, and 
expressed diflficulty in preventing their going. The young 
men had been drilled for service, to which slight objec- 
tion is expressed by the Trustees. 

The professors' salaries, which had been fixed at $1500, 
were reduced one-half, and they were permitted to se- 
cure additional work outside if possible. 

During the entire session of '61 and '62 only $1150 
was paid to the entire faculty, and they were praised 
for standing by the University under the circumstances. 
The institution did not close its doors during the war, 
but the enrollment ran down to fourteen. Still instruc- 
tion was given in all classes, at times chiefly by one 
man. 



SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY 



87 



At the opening of the session in 1865 not a single 
class could be formed, but Professor Casey, during the 
year, gave instruction in classics to twenty young men. 
There were forty-three in the Preparatory Department 
under Professor Casey. Though the struggle through the 
war was hard, it seems the doors were never closed. 

Reconstruction was almost as hard as the period of 
war. In 1867, the agent, the Rev. Mr. Callaway, re- 




REV. ALLEN S. ANDREWS, D. D., 

Who was for a long while one of the most disting-uished Presidents 
of the Southern University. He died at Union Springs, Ala.^ 
December 4, 1898, aged 74 years. 



ported that $171,810.66 in notes was placed in his hands. 
Of this amount $4,683 was collected in cash, $16,000 
was renewed, $40,000 was classed as possibly good and 
$75,000 as worthless. The magnificent endowment had 
been swept away, leaving the school a lot of worthless 



88 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

paper which was carried upon the book for years. The 
buildings were intact and free from debt. 

Hamilton Hall, the present dormitory, was secured in 
1868 by the foreclosure of a mortgage held by the Uni- 
versity. 

The North Mississippi Conference adopted the South- 
ern University as its college in 1870, and appointed six 
trustees to sit on the Board. This adoption must have 
been short lived, for no further mention is made in the 
minutes of the Board of Trustees. 

The seventies were the dark days in the history of the 
school. Even the people of Greensboro thought the 
school would close after the session of 1871-72. Some 
of the buildings were placed under mortgage, and af- 
terwards foreclosed. There was even some remote dan- 
ger of the loss of the main building itself. But Chan- 
cellor Luther Smith came from Emory College, Oxford, 
Ga., at a great personal sacrifice because he thought the 
service of the church called him, and infused new life 
into the institution. The debts were wiped out, and the 
institution was placed in a fair way to prosperity when 
death removed the chancellor. 

The second advent of Dr. Andrews as president, in 
1883, marks the beginning of a remarkable period in 
the history of the Southern University. In that year the 
property became joint possession, in fee simple, of the 
Alabama and North Alabama conferences. An era of 
prosperity ensued. The largest attendance in the his- 
tory of the institution was reached in 1889-90, 238 names 
having been placed upon the matriculation book of that 
session. 

The North Alabama Conference, at its session at Flor- 
ence, on December 23, 1897, deeded back its interests in 
the school to the original patron, the Alabama Confer- 
ence. 

Under the administration of Dr. J. 0. Keener much 
was done towards the upbuilding of the school. The in- 



SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY 89 

terior of the main building was greatly improved, and 
the chapel remodeled into a beautiful auditorium, 

A splendid gymnasium was erected on the campus in 
1907. 

In 1904 the plan of government was changed. All re- 
strictions were removed, and the school placed upon the 
honor system. The results have been highly gratifying. 

Presidents of the Southern University. 

Wm. W. Wightman, 1859-1867. 

Edward Wadsworth, 1868-1870. 

Allen S. Andrews, 1871-1875. 

Luther M. Smith, 1875-1879. 

Josiah Lewis, 1880-1881. 

Francis M. Peterson ( acting president), 1881-1883. 

Allen S. Andrews, 1883-1894. 

John 0. Keener, 1894-1898. 

Samuel M. Hosmer, 1899-to present. 

Faculty of the Southern University. 

Dr. Edward Wadsworth, A. M., 1859-70. Moral Phil- 
osophy. 

N. Thomas Lupton, A. M., 1869-71. Chemistry. 

0. F. Casey, A. M., 1869-76. Ancient Languages. 

J. C. Wills, A. M., 1859-71. Mathematics. 

J. A. Reubelt, 1860-'61. Modern Languages. 

John S. Moore, A. M., 1871-'84. Mathematics. 

D. M. Rush, A. M., 1872-74. Mathematics. 

Dr. T. O. Summers, Jr., 1871-74. Chemistry. 

L S. Hopkins, 1876-78. Science. 

C. A. Grote, A. M., 1876-'94. Science and Modern Lan- 
guages. 

Rev. J. Lewis, Jr., 1875-'81. English. 

C. M. Verdel, A. M., 1876-'81. Science. 

F. M. Peterson, A. M., 1877-'99. Ancient Languages. 



90 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

J. A. Moore, Ph. D., 1883-'94. Mathematics. 
L. C. Dickey, 1883-'84. English and History. 
Rev. J. F. Sturdivant, 1885-'90. English. 
E. L. Brown, B. S., 1889-'03. Science. 

C. L. McCartha, 1890-'92. English. 

D. P. Christenberry, A. M., 1892. English. 

L. P. Giddens, A. B., 1894-1907. Mathematics. 
Rev. J. W. Shoaff, D. D., 1899-'02. Mental and Moral 
Philosophy. 

J. T. Littleton, A. M., 1899. Modern Languages. 

E. K. Turner, Ph. D., 1899-'03. Ancient Languages. 
Andrew Sledd, Ph. D., 1903-'04. Greek. 

E. L. Colebeck, M, A., 1902-1907. Ancient Languages. 

B. P. Richardson, B. S., 1903. Science. 

C. P. Atkinson, A. M., 1904. Mental and Moral Phil- 
osophy. 

F. E. Chapman, A. M., 1907. Mathematics. 

D. M. Key, A. M., 1907. Ancient Languages. 




Chapter XIV 

CHURCHES. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of Greensboro. 

The earliest records of this church were lost, and have 
never been in the possession of the present generation, 
nor that of the one this generation succeeds. This fact 
is borne out by the following statement taken from the 
minutes of the Quarterly Conference held on the 25th 
of April, 1835: 

"A. B. Sawyer, John DuBois and S. G. Field were ap- 
pointed a committee to search for and arrange the rec- 
ords of the church, and have them recorded." Evidently 
these gentlemen failed to find the records, for there is 
no further mention of the matter in any of the succeed- 
ing minutes kept by the church officials. However, it is 
known that as early as the year 1822 there was a Meth- 
odist church in Greensboro. It stood where the negro 
Methodists now have their brick church in the rear of 
the Dr. Ward homestead. One among the first Methodist 
ministers to preach in Greensboro was the Rev. Mr. 
Hawkins. 

Some time between the years 1822 and 1833, Greens- 
boro was made a station. The records from which this 
history is compiled begin with the latter year, and at 
that time Rev. Mr. Hearn was presiding elder of the 
Greensboro district, and Rev. Robert L. Kenon was 
preacher in charge at this place. The stewards were: 
Robert Dickens and Franklin Shaw. The Revs. Hearn 
and Kenon were succeeded in 1835 by Rev. E. V. LeVert, 



92 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

presiding elder, and Rev. S. B. Sawyer, preacher in 
charge. 

At a meeting of the Quarterly Conference held March 
11th, 1837, a committee, composed of Robert Dickens, 
Thomas Johnston and Andrew Walker, was appointed 
to take under consideration the necessity and expediency 
of building a parsonage for the station. At the next 
meeting of the Quarterly Conference, held June 10th, 
1837, this committee reported, and recommended that a 
parsonage be purchased as soon as possible, and asked 
the Conference to allow them to open a subscription for 
the purpose — subscriptions to be made payable the fol- 
lowing January. The report was received, and the com- 
mittee was urged to press the matter, but pending the 
purchase of a suitable building. Dr. William Jones of- 
fered the church the use of a house that stood just west 
of the present Madison Jones lot, which offer was ac- 
cepted, and for some years the Methodist ministers re- 
sided there. The house was torn down ten or a dozen 
years ago. Finally the Methodists decided to own their 
parsonage, and purchased the (then) Randolph lot, — the 
same now owned and occupied by Thomas Johnson — and 
this was used as a parsonage until the year 1866, when 
it was sold, and with the proceeds the lot upon which the 
present parsonage stands was purchased, and again for 
nine years the Methodists were without a home for the 
preacher, for it was not until 1875 that the present par- 
sonage was erected. But really no home for the minis- 
ter was needed, for the church was supplied, with one 
or two exceptions, for nearly twenty years, with a pro- 
fessor from the Southern University, by the annual con- 
ferences. But in 1886 this method was changed, and 
a preacher was sent who was to devote his entire time 
to the charge. 

At the meeting of the Quarterly Conference in June, 
1837, Thomas M. Johnston and Joel Reynolds were ap- 
pointed stewards, in place of Greene B. Williams, de- 



CHURCHES 93 

ceased, and Stephen G. Field, removed. At this same 
meeting (June 10, 1837) the stewards were appointed 
a building committee to "build a new Methodist church 
in the town of Greensboro, Alabama," "and it is recom- 
mended," said the conference, "that the house be built 
at once." 

It was decided to remove from the place where the 
church had been located for some years, and the old lot 
and edifice standing thereon were disposed of to the 
negroes, and in 1837 the lot at the intersection of Main 
and Tuscaloosa streets (where the church now stands) 
was purchased from Matthew Hobson for the sum of 
$1,000.00. 

On March 16, 1839, the Quarterly Conference appoint- 
ed a committee to superintend the building of the new 
church, said committee consisting of Dr. William Jones, 
Dr. Thomas Cottrell, Thomas M. Johnston, John M. Bates 
and Andrew Walker. The contractor was Robert Dick- 
ens. 

The work on the new building was pushed quite rapid- 
ly for those days when the brick had to be made and 
burned at home, and the timber had to be gotten out by 
hand — for in a little more than a year after the appoint- 
ment of a committee to superintend the building the 
church was dedicated — April 3, 1840. Rev. E. V. LeVert 
preached the sermon, his text being: "This is a faithful 
saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus 
came into the world to save sinners." 

At the time of the dedication, the church had a mem- 
bership of one hundred and sixteen whites; the Sunday 
School had two superintendents, nine teachers and sixty 
pupils. 

Church matters seem not to have prospered with the 
Methodists in a financial way during the next few suc- 
ceeding years, if the following from the minutes of the 
Quarterly Conference, held February 2, 1846, is to be 
taken as an indication : 



94 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

"In view of the indebtedness of this Station, be it 
Resolved, That it be returned to the Circuit; Provided, 
That first the matter be brought before the whole So-, 
ciety on next Sabbath, and that if they will come forward 
and pay all arrearages and promise to sustain the Sta- 
tion, it shall remain as such." 

On the following Sunday the matter was brought be- 
fore the congregation, and the alternative of either re- 
turning to the Circuit or paying up arrearages was sub- 
mitted to them, and they chose to liquidate the indebted- 
ness and remain as a Station. 

The building that was torn away in June, 1907, to 
make room for the present handsome and commodious 
structure, was practically the same as the one erected 
1839-40. 

For several years the question of building a new church 
was discussed by the membership, and finally the mat- 
ter was definitely decided by its being ascertained that 
the roof of the old building was in a dangerous condition, 
and was liable to fall in. Nothing was left for the Meth- 
odists to do but to either repair the old strucrure at great 
cost, or to build a new one, and at a meeting of the Quar- 
terly Conference held on January 29, 1907, it was decid- 
ed to build a new church, and the following building com- 
mittee was appointed: Dr. S. M. Hosmer, chairman, F. 
D. Gulley, R. F. Monette, Wm. E. W. Yerby, Thomas 
Johnson, Thomas E. Knight, L. J. Lawson, W. C. Chris- 
tian and E. A. Powers. 

The contract was let to John A. Straiton, contractor, 
for $17,984.91, and work on the present building was 
begun on June 21, 1907, and finished in June, 1908. The 
above price does not include the interior furnishings. 
These cost in the neighborhood of $10,000 — including 
windows, organ and heating. While the church was 
building, services were held for more than a year in the 
Greensboro Opera House, which was kindly tendered the 
congregation free of rent, by the owner, Mr. J. A. Blunt. 



CHURCHES 95 

The following is as complete a list of the presiding 
elders and preachers in charge who have served this dis- 
trict and station as it was possible to obtain : 

PRESIDING ELDERS— Rev. Mr. Hearn, 1833; E. V. 
LeVert, 1835-36; Francis H. Jones, 1838; E. V. LeVert, 
1839-41; Charles McCloud, 1842-45; Edmund Pearson, 
1846-48 ; P. P. Neely, 1849 ; Greenberry Garrett, 1850-51 ; 
T. J. Kager, 1852-55; J. W. Starr, 1856; J. J. Hutchinson, 
1857-58; T. J. Ramsey, 1859; Edward Wadsworth, 1860; 
J. W. Starr, 1861; C. C. Calloway, 1862-65; Abram 
Adams, 1866; J. L. Cotton, 1867-68; A. H. Mitchell, 1871- 
79 ; S. H. Cox, 1880 ; H. Urquhart, 1881-84 ; J. Bancroft, 
1884-86; T. J. Mangum, 1886- O. R. Blue, J. R. Peavy, 
J. Bancroft, 0. C. McGehee, Jno. A. Peterson, W. P. 
Hurt, E. A. Dannelly— a total of 29. 

Preachers in Charge. 

Robert L. Kenon, 1833; S. B. Sawyer, 1835; F. H. 
Jones, 1836; Claiburne Pirtle, 1837; E. V. LeVert, and 
C, Shannon, ass't preacher, 1838; James A. Boatright, 
1839-40 ; W. W. Bell, and W. W. Thomas, ass't preacher, 
1840-41; W. Dorman, 1843; Thomas Capers, 1845; C. C. 
Gillespie, 1846; T. P. Shelman, 1848; C. D. Oliver, 1849- 
50; A. H. Powell, 1851-52; J. J. Hutchinson, 1853; C. C. 
Calloway, 1854-55; Edward Wadsworth, 1856-57; Wil- 
liam Shapard, 1858-59; T. J. Ramsey, 1860-61; J. A. 
Heard, 1862 ; R. K. Hargrove, 1863 ; T. T. Ramsey, 1864- 
65; T. O. Summers, 1866; J. C. Wills, 1866; T. C. Weir, 
1867-68; John S. Moore, 1869-71; A. S. Andrews, 1872- 
75; 0. R. Blue, 1875; H. Urquhart, 1876; J. Lewis, Jr., 
1877-80; F. M. Peterson, 1881-84; A. S. Andrews, 1885; 
W. P. Dickinson, 1886-89; O. C. McGehee, 1889-92; J. 
0. Keener, 1893-4 ; A. S. Andrews, July 1894 ; W. M. Cox, 
1894-98; C. L. Chilton, 1898-1902; T. R. McCarty, 1902; 
-03; E. L. Crawford, 1903-06; Henry Trawick, 1907— a 
total of 42. 



96 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 




THE GREENSBORO BAPTIST CHURCH. 



The Baptist Church. 



The Baptist denomination was among the earliest, and 
at one time the most important, of the Christian denomi- 
nations in Greensboro and vicinity. The Rev. Joseph 
Ryan in 1819 organized the first Baptist church in this 
part of the State. It was known as Salem Baptist church, 
and was situated in the eastern part of Greensboro near 
where the Marion and Newbern roads fork. The mem- 
bers who were present at the organization were : James 
Hutchins, Offa Caloway, Samuel Caloway, Thomas and 
James Gresham, David Eddins and Messrs. Thomas and 
Seaton. In addition to those mentioned, other members 
were : Louis and David Stevens, C. C. Latimore, Thomas 
Ward, James Brantley and wife. In 1820 a large frame 
church was built. It had neither laths nor plaster, with 
wooden shutters, without glass, and was seated with 
wooden benches. This church stood on the south side of 
the Main road and immediately east of the present New- 
bern road. Near the head of the swampy hollow in the 
rear of the Williamson old place (at present owned by 



CHURCHES 



97 



Mrs. Walker) was the pool for baptism — a square reser- 
voir with steps descending into it — without a roof. 

The Rev. Joseph Ryan was pastor of Salem Baptist 
church for about twenty years. He came to Greensboro 
from South Carolina, and was ordained as a minister at 
Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 1819. After resigning his pastorate 
here he moved to Sumter county, residing near Gaston, 
where he died in 1845. Rev. Daniel P. Bestor succeeded 
Mr. Ryan as pastor, a position he filled with marked abil- 
ity for some years. He also had charge of the Greensboro 
Female Academy from 1841 to 1846, and also represented 
Greene county in the Legislature several terms. He died 
in Mobile on the 9th of April, 1869, aged at)out 65 years. 




REV. THOMAS CHILTON, 
One of the early Pastors of the Greensboro Baptist Church. 



98 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Rev. Thomas Chilton succeeded Mr. Bestor as pastor, 
and remained as such until about 1850, when he moved 
to Newbern, Ala., where he resided for two years and 
then went to Texas, where he died some years after- 
wards. 

During the years 1851-52-53, Rev. C. F. Sturgis was 
pastor. He in turn was succeeded by Revs. Russell Hol- 
man, W. S. Barton, W. C. Buck, J. C. Wright, and T. W. 
Toby until 1865 when the church ceased to exist. 

In 1842, Peter Mclntyre, for the consideration of $2,- 
700, sold to the Baptists the lot on which the court house 
now stands, and they proceeded at once to build what was 
then considered the finest church edifice in west Alabama. 
John Crossland was the contractor. This building was, 
in 1867, sold to the town of Greensboro, and by the town 
donated to Hale county as a court house, and served as 
such until 1907, when the old building was torn away to 
make room for the present court house. The town paid 
the Baptists $8,000 for the property. 

In 1820, the Cahaba Baptist Association convened in 
Salem church, and in 1823, while the church was on the 
lot at the forks of the Marion and Newbern roads, the 
Alabama Baptist State Convention was organized. There 
were present twenty delegates, representing twenty-eight 
churches with a membership of about 7 000. 

Salem church, in its day and time, numbered among its 
membership many prominent people. Besides those al- 
ready mentioned may be added Dr. W. T. Hendon, Green 
Huckabee, Hayward Lawrence, Harris Tinker, Wiley 
Croom, C. C. Huckabee, Jesse Croom, George Deal, Mrs. 
Kissie Croom, George Pollard and Messrs. Coates and 
Harmon. 

In 1834 the Baptist Convention met with Salem church 
and established the Baptist Manual Labor School. Some 
objected to the name "Manual Labor," and it was later 
called "The Alabama Institute of Literature and Indus- 
try." This school was located in the neighborhood of the 



CHURCHES 99 

old Breen place about a mile northeast of the present 
court house. The school was largely attended for several 
years. The pupils were required to do a certain amount 
of labor in the field or elsewhere each day, for which they 
were allowed a small sum per hour. A. J. Holcombe was 
Secretary of the Board of Trustees. The institution 
proved a failure, and the buildings were sold at auction. 
These buildings were a row of one-story frame houses 
of two rooms each, with shutters at the windows. There 
were a half dozen or more of them. 

When Salem Baptist church was dissolved in 1865 the 
Baptists were left unorganized in Greensboro, until Feb- 
ruary 18, 1894, when the present church was established. 
On that date nine Baptists met in the court house and or- 
ganized "The Greensboro Baptist Church." Rev. W. B. 
Crumpton, D. D., Secretary of the State Board of Mis- 
sions, and Rev. S. 0. Y. Ray, State Evangelist, assisted 
in the organization. The constituent members were: 
T. J. Kinnaird, Wm. Martin, Mrs. Rachael Martin, Thom- 
as Mitchell, R. D. Redding, Misses Mattie Redding and 
Nannie Redding, and P. H. Wilkerson and wife. The 
church was duly incorporated on the 10th day of Sep- 
tember, 1894. 

On July 8th, 1894, Rev. A. R. Hardy, the first pastor 
of "The Greensboro Baptist Church," begun his work, 
services being held in the court house until the present 
church edifice was erected. On August 8th, 1896, the 
property on which the church and the pastorium now 
stand was purchased from D. W. Taylor, Syd Taylor and 
Lily Taylor, the deed being made to the Alabama State 
Convention. The lot and the residence standing thereon 
(the present pastorium) cost $1600. 

The first Sunday School was organized in 1895 with 
P. H. Wilkerson as superintendent. The first baptisms — 
seven in number — took place Nov. 22, 1896, in a pool, 
made for the purpose, in the rear of Col. L. J. Lawson's 
pasture on Tuscaloosa street. 



100 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Rev. A. R. Hardy, labored earnestly and most efficient- 
ly for the upbuilding of the church until his death on 
December 1, 1896 at Greensboro. The membership was 
largely increased under his ministry, and it was through 
his untiring efforts that the present church was erected. 

In April 1897, Rev. Mr. Barnes was called as pastor, 
but remained only a short while. During the years 1898 
and 1899 Rev. R. G. Patrick, D. D., President of the 
Judson Institute, supplied the church. 

On the 7th day of July, 1899, the contract was let to 
John A. Straiton to build a one story frame church on 
the Northeast corner of Centreville and Main Streets. 
The cost was about $2600. The building was commenced 
in October, 1899, and completed in March, 1900. It was 
dedicated on January 14, 1900, — Dr. W. B. Crumpton 
preaching the dedicatory sermon. 

In March, 1900, Rev. W. W. Lee became pastor, and 
continued as such until his resignation in September, 
1902. Rev. John G. Apsey kept up the preaching services 
after Mr. Lee's resignation until the arrival of Rev. T. M. 
Thomas as pastor in June, 1903. In July, 1904, Rev. T. 
M. Thomas tendered his resignation and went as a mis- 
sionary to China. 

From the time of Mr. Thomas's resignation until the 
coming of Rev. J. G. Dobbins as pastor in June, 1905, 
Maj. John G. Harris filled the pulpit once a month. 

From a membership of nine in 1894 it has steadily 
grown, until there are in the neighborhood of one hun- 
dred enrolled as members of "Hardy Memorial Baptist 
Church" at Greensboro. 



CHURCHES 



101 




ST. PAUL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 



Episcopal Church. 



As far as can be ascertained, the first service by a cler- 
gyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church was held in 
Greensboro on the 14th day of March, 1830. On that 
date a congregation was duly organized, the original com- 
pact being signed by the following persons : R. E. Meade, 
R. W. Withers, Wm. T. Boiling, T. B. Randolph, J. B. 
Stickney, Jno. F. Abbott, Ryland Randolph, T. S. Wash- 
ington, John Morrast, John Malone and D. W. Wither- 
spoon. The following composed the first Vestry: Dr. 
Richard E. Meade, Dr. R. Inge, Dr. R. C. Randolph, 
Frank Inge, Esq'r, Dr. R. W. Withers, Wm. Murphy, 
Esq'r, J. B. Stickney, Esq'r, Col. Samuel Pickens and 
J. Bell, Esq'r. At a meeting held August 22d, 1831, by 



102 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

this Vestry it was resolved to enter into negotiations for 
the erection of a church edifice, but this plan failed to ma- 
terialize, and the attempt to organize a parish at this time 
was abandoned. 

On December 24th, 1833, at a meeting held by a num- 
ber of citizens, certain persons were appointed as vestry- 
men, and St. Paul's, Greensboro, was selected as the name 
of the parish, but not until about 1840 was this parish 
duly incorporated. 

In 1834, the Rev. C. S. Ives was connected with this 
parish, but how long his connection lasted is not known. 
The Rev. J. B. Goodman took charge of the work in 1837 
and continued to serve as rector until 1842, when he was 
succeeded by Rev. Julian E. Sawyer. The next rector 
was Rev. S. Patterson who, in 1845, was succeeded by 
by Rev. J. S. Marbury, who continued the work until 

1850, at. which time he tendered his resignation on ac- 
count of ill health. He died in Greensboro in September, 

1851, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Paul's. 
The Rev. J. M. Bannister was the next rector, who re- 
mained in the parish from 1851 to 1860, when he was 
succeeded by Rev. Richard Hooker Cobbs, D. D., who took 
charge on September 1st, 1861, and served continuously 
for forty-six years, — resigning the rectorship in Septem- 
ber, 1907. He was again re-elected as Rector in March 
1908, and so urgent was the request on the part of Ves- 
try and congregation, that he accepted. 

The present church building was erected in 1840, but 
has been considerably improved since that time — a chan- 
cel being added in 1855, and the building was enlarged 
and much improved in 1872. The Sunday School room, 
immediately north of the church, was erected in 1906. 

The first baptism recorded in this parish was on Jan- 
uary 14, 1838, and confirmation was administered for the 
first time on Good Friday, April 13, 1838, by Rt. Rev. Dr. 
Kepper, Missionary Bishop of Missouri. 



CHURCHES 



103 



In 1840 Bishop Polk visited this parish, and in May, 
1844, Rev. Dr. Cobbs, father of the rector who served 
the parish forty-six years, was elected the first Bishop of 
Alabama, by a convention sitting in this church. 





GKEExXSBORO PREiSBVTEKIAN CllL'KCil. 



Preshyterian Chu rch. 



The first sermon ever preached in Greensboro by a 
Presbyterian minister was some time prior to 1822, when 
Mr. Hunter delivered a discourse. In 1822, Rev. James 
Hillhouse came from South Carolina and delivered his 



104 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

first sermon in a small house used as a tavern. The next 
year (1823) he organized a church of twenty members, 
and the same year a house of worship was erected where 
Mrs. Mary G. Pickens now resides. On the first roll 
are the names of Norris, Knox, Hall, Hunter, Hillhouse, 
Darragh, Bell and Barron. Except during the period 
from 1830-1832 Mr. Hillhouse served as pastor until his 
death in 1835. Such was the growth of the church under 
his administration that the congregation was able to 
offer in 1836 a salary of $2,000 per year. 

In 1837 Rev. T. R. Witherspoon became the pastor of 
the church and held the position until 1843. 

The following ministers subsequently served the 
church either as stated supplies or as regular pastors, 
viz: 

Rev. L. D. Hatch, spring of 1843; Rev. R. C. Yale, 1843 
and 1844; Rev. R. H. Chapman, 1845 to 1850; Rev. J. C. 
Mitchell, 1850 to 1859; Rev. F. H. Bowman, 1859 to 1860; 
the church pastorate was vacant 1861 and 1862; Rev. 
J. M. P. Otts, D. D., 1862 to 1867; Rev. D. D. Sanderson, 
1868 to 1871; vacant 1871 and 1872; Rev. W. J. Frierson, 
1872 and 1873; Rev. Thomas Ward White, 1874 to 1879; 
Rev. J. J. Anderson, 1880 and 1881; Rev. W. C. Clark, 
May 1882 to 1886; Rev. W. G. Ready, 1889 to 1902; Rev. 
J. P. Anderson, 1902 to present (1908). 

The church has numbered among its membership some 
of Greensboro's most honored and prominent men. On 
the roll will be found such names as Witherspoon, Kerr, 
Locke, Lowry, May, Strudwick, Webb, Carson, Castle- 
man, Boardman and others. The number of persons 
brought into the church since its organization has been 
something over six hundred. 

This church has furnished seven or eight ministers, 
and there have been associated with it, as pastors, seven 
ministers: Witherspoon, Chapman, Mitchell, Otts, Clark, 
Ready and Anderson; and as stated supplies, nine: Kill- 



CHURCHES 105 

house, Murphy, Hatch, Yale, Bowman, Sanderson, Frier- 
son, White and Anderson. 

Three houses of worship have been built — 1823, 
1841 and 1859, in the latter year the present edifice was 
erected. 

Miss Emma Boardman, a member of this church, went 
as a missionary to China in March, 1894, and is yet at her 
post of duty. 



Chapter XV. 



LODGES. 

Masonic. 

The Masonic Lodge now in existence in Greensboro — 
known as Lafayette No. 26 — dates back to the year 1826, 
though it would appear from the minutes of the Lodge 
that it was the successor to one which had formerly been 
organized in the town. From an old, faded and dim min- 
ute entry the following is taken : 

"3y virtue of the foregoing Dispensation from the Right Wor- 
shipful John B. Hogan, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge 
of Alabama, a special communication of the Lafayette Lodge No. 
26, was begun and held at the store house of Samuel Reed & Co., 
in the town of Greensborough on the 19th of August A. L. 5826, 
A. D. 1826." 

There were present at this first communication the 
following : Josiah Downing, Worshipful Master ; Franklin 
Shaw, Senior Warden; Ebernezer Whiting, Junior War- 
den; Nathan Baker, Treasurer; Thomas B, Childress, Sec- 
retary; James B. Scott, Senior Deacon; Benjamin H, 
Mann, Junior Deacon ; Lathan Cooper, Tyler ; also visiting 
brethren J. B. Stickney, James C. Harrell and William 
T. Scott. 

A committee was appointed "to collect the jewels and 
furniture of the former lodge held at this place, value 
them, and report at the next communication." 

In order to ascertain something in regard to the "for- 
mer lodge" referred to in the above, a letter was written 
to the Grand Secretary at Montgomery, the reply to which 
is here inserted : 



108 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Montgomery, Ala., March 18, 1907. 
Mr. William E. W. Yerby, 

Greensboro, Ala. 

Dear Sir & Brother :- 

I am in receipt of your favor of the 16th instant and take pleas- 
ure in giving you the information we have concerning the first 
Lodge instituted in your city. 

The name of said Lodge was Washington No. 17. The petition 
on which dispensation was issued said Lodge January 8, 1822 was 
signed by Hiram Shortridge, Ina Nelson, Ebernezer Whiting, Sam- 
uel G. Briggs, Samuel Dickenson, Lawrence Carr, Joseph Middle- 
brooks, Joseph B. Stickney. Recommended by Rising Virtue Lodge 
No. 4. 

November 27, 1822 petition for Charter signed by Joseph B. 
Stickney, W. M., and blank date 1822, another petition for Charter 
signed by Thomas Sheridan, John L. Martin, James Means, Henry 
Halbert, Thomas Westbrook, Allen M. Donald, John C. Dunn, L E. 
Norris, T. L. Jernigan, Wiatt Harper, John Thomas, John C. Whit- 
sett recommending Thomas Sheridan, W. M., Henry Halbert, S. W., 
John P. Martin, J. W. 

A Charter was issued December 10, 1823 to Thomas Sheriden, 
Henry Halbert and John P. Martin, signed by Horatio G. Perry, 
Dep. G. M., David Moore, Dep. G. W., A .Hutcheson, S. G. W., 
Thomas Owen, J. G. W., W. I. Adair, Grand Secretary, p. t. 

Returns — 1822, 17 members, 1823, 12 members, 1824, 9 members 
and 1825, 14 members. 

The Lodge surrendered its Charter, Jewels, etc., June 10, 1825. 
The books, jewels, etc., were delivered to L Downing, W. M., of 
Lafayette Lodge No. 26 in August 1826, with a petition to the 
Grand Lodge that its members be permitted to join Lafayette 
i-odge, signed by the W. Master Henry Halbert. 

As it may be of some interest to you, I enclose copy of letter 
written by Henry Halbert, W. M., protem of said Lodge. 

Yours fraternally, 

Geo. A. Beauchamp, 

Grand Secretary. 

To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of 
Alabama : 

Prior to the dissolution of Washington Lodge No. 17 held at the 
Orient of Greensborough the meetings were so thinly attended 
and the members so dispersed that it was not in my power to make 
a return to the last annual communication of the Most Worship- 
ful Grand Lodge, and therefore solicit their indulgence for any 
omission of duty I may have reluctantly committed. 

Agreeably to an order of the right Wovshipful first deputy 
Grand Master dated in August last, I delivered the funds and fur- 
niture of the late Washington Lodge No. 17 to Brother L Downing, 
Worshipful Master of Lafayette Lodge in this place, as also the 
books and papers. The funds of the late Washington Lodge were 
barely sufTicicnt to defray the expenses and it was with some dif- 
ficulty that I have been enabled to collect the necessary dues to the 
Grand Lodge forwarded heretvith: I therefore hope and trust 
that the restrictions, if any, may be removed so far as that: Every 



LODGES 109 

member of the late Washington Lodge who has paid up his dues 
and is otherwise thought deserving may be permitted to join La- 
fayette Lodge. 

(Signed) HENRY HALBERT, 

W. M. protem of the late Washington Lodge. 

Greensborough, 11th Dec, A. L. 5826. 

At a communication of Lafayette Lodge No. 26, held on 
February 20th, 1827, it was ordered "that a petition for 
a Charter for this Lodge be forwarded to the Grand 
Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Alabama before the next 
regular communication." 

The Charter was promptly granted, and bears date of 
March 21st, 1827. It designates Franklin A. Shaw as 
Worshipful Master; Josiah Downing as Senior Warden, 
and Ebenezer Whiting as Junior Warden. The Charter 
is signed by Nimrod E. Benson, Grand Master, John B. 
Hogan, Deputy Grand Master, and John G. Acker as 
Grand Secretary. The sheep-skin upon which the char- 
ter is written is now yellow with age, and has been in 
the lodge room for more than three-quarters of a century ; 
yet, it is in a fairly good state of preservation, and is 
likely to witness the coming and going of several more 
generations of Masons. 

No reference is made in the ancient minutes of the Lodge 
in regard to where the communications were held from 
August, 1826, until January, 1833, at which time the agi- 
tation of the question of building a lodge room was begun. 
From some of the old inhabitants we have heard that the 
Masons met in the early days in a building situated some- 
where near the present shops of George DeLaney — this 
location was probably where Washington No. 17 met. 

It would seem that the Lodge went to work in earnest 
on the lodge room proposition, for at a special communi- 
cation held on February 15th, 1833, the following ap- 
pears on the minutes : 

The committee appointed to select a lot on which to 
erect a lodge room reported "that the lot of Col. McAlpine 
cannot be obtained on the terms anticipated by the Lodge, 



110 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

and that Mr. Sanders' lot could not be obtained without 
restriction." Thereupon it was ordered 

"that Mr. Sanders' lot and Mr. Peck's lot be put in nomination, 
and the one which shall receive the greatest number of votes be 
taken as the site for a Lodge, whereupon it appeared that Mr. 
Peck's lot received the greatest number of votes." 

The next week — February 22d, 1833 — the Lodge met 
and "the brethren were formed in procession and march- 
ed to the Methodist church, where an eloquent and feeling 
address was delivered to them by Brother R. L. Kennon; 
from thence they proceeded to laying the corner stone of 
the new lodge, which being performed with appropriate 
ceremonies, they returned to the lodge room." 

The Masons participating in the dedicatory services 
were : J. S. W. Hellen, John Fife, V. T. Shell, John Cocke, 
Henry Webb, R. Shackleford, C. Jones, C. H. Cox, S. W. 
Webb, J. P. Hill, J. B. Scott, W. T. Scott, N. Pinkham, 
G. Goodrum, C. F. Stephens, John Craig, W. Earby, W. 
S. Harrison, Messrs. Noel, Halbert, Whiting, Stewart, 
Ocheltree and Garrett all of Lafayette Lodge; and visit- 
ing brethren R. L. Kennon, Thomas S. Abernathy, Wil- 
liam Craig, James A. Beal, T. F. Moody, John Nelson, 
Joseph B. Stickney, J. Middlebrooks, J. Downing, James 
Chambers, J. E. Frierson, F. J. W. Nelson, T. Goodrum, 
W. D. Baldwin, J. D. Cash, Willis Nail, John P. Lipscomb, 
John McGinnis, 0. Eddins, A. McMillan. 

At the meeting of the Lodge on September 16th, 1833, 
the following motion was passed : 

"Resolved that the site agreed on for the location of a lodge 
room be rescinded, and that a committee of three be appointed to 
circulate subscriptions for the purpose of raising sufficient funds 
to build a Lodge Room on the top of Mr. Dickens' house; when 
brothers Cocke, Hellen and Webb were appointed." 

This committee did not progress as rapidly with their 
work as did the first one appointed to select a site, for it 
was not until February 17th, 1835, that Mr. Dickens 
made the Lodge the following proposition : 



LODGES 111 

To the Members of Lafayette Lodge ai; Greensboro: 
Gentlemen :- 

"Having had a conversation with some of the members of your 
body on the subject of building a lodge room on my lot lying east 
of the Warrior House, I take this method of making you the fol- 
lowing proposition : 

I will erect a building of the same size of the one you now occupy 
on the street leading from Main street to Mr. Peck's family res- 
idence (Peck's residence was the W. W. Powers homestead) on 
the same terms that the one you now occupy was built, without 
the restriction that was laid on it. The lower room of the build- 
ing is to be constructed so as to make a good Town Hall, and to be 
appropriated to that purpose, provided the citizens of our town will 
pay for it, if not, to be owned by myself. I am also willing to 
make a good title to the upper story on its being paid for, or to the 
whole building if the Lodge, or citizens, will pay the cost of the 
same, without any charge for the ground on which it stands; the 
room now occupied as a lodge room to be retained by the Lodge 
until the new one is finished, without any charge for rent, and 
then to be given up to me. I am, Gentlemen 

Yours with respect, 

Robert Dickens. 
N. B. It will be understood that I will make good all the expense 
the Lodge has been at in furnishing a part of the materials for 
building the present Lodge room." 

This proposition was accepted and Dickens built the 
lodge room now occupied by the Masons of Greensboro. 
The amount paid Dickens was $629,54, this being ordered 
paid at the communication held on September 15th, 1835. 
In the month of April, 1837, a bill from C. Jones was pre- 
sented "for work in building the Masonic Hall." The 
amount of this bill was $460.64. This was nearly two 
years after the payment to Dickens. The minutes dis- 
close nothing further on the subject. 

The career of Lafayette Lodge has been a long and 
honorable one. Many distinguished men have been num- 
bered among the membership. Scattered throughout the 
length and breadth of the land are those who have been 
within the precincts of its Hall and have taken part in 
the Masonic work. 

It has a present membership of forty-five. 



112 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 





DR. THOMAS R. WARD. 

He was for twenty-two years Worshipful Master of LaFayetle 
Masonic Lodge 



The following is a complete list of those who have filled 
the position of Worshipful Master since the organization 
of the Lodge in 1826 : 

Josiah Downing, 1826; Franklin Shaw, 1827; Wm. S. 
Chapman, 1830; J. B. Scott, 1831; John Craig, 1832; J. 
S. W. Hellen, 1833; John Fife, 1834; Daniel H. Bingham, 
1835 ; Charles Whelan, 1836 ; Robert B. Waller, 1837-35- 
39 ; Volney Boardman, 1840 ; Robert B. Waller, 1841 ; Wm. 
Kerr, 1842-43; Robert B. Waller, 1844; Thomas Capers, 
1845; Wm. Kerr, 1846; Thomas P. Chilton, 1847; Wm. 
Kerr, 1848-49-50; Robert H. Jackson, 1851-52-53; R. D. 
Huckabee, 1854-55-56; Thomas R. Ward, 1857-58-59-60- 
61-62-63-64-65-66-67-68-69, 1871-72-73-74-75, 1880, 1886- 
87, 1894; Wm. Trice, 1870; John S. Tucker, 1876-77; 
Richard Inge, 1878-79; L. J. Lawson, 1880-81-82-83-84; 



LODGES 113 

Elisha Young, 1885-86. (Note— From March, 1887, to 
June, 1890, there was a suspension of the Lodge. On 
June 17th, 1890, T. R. Ward, E. Young, R. U. DuBois, L. 
J. Lawson, B. Steinhart, J. P. Lieser and J. H. Young rnet, 
and under a dispensation of the Grand Secretary, elected 
officers.) L. J. Lawson, W. M., 1890-1891; John H. Tur- 
pin, 1892-93-94; D. P. Christenberry, 1895-96; J. A. Eller- 
be, 1897-98; William Smaw, 1899-1900-01-02-03-04-05-06; 
L. J. Lawson, 1907. 

It will be noted that Dr. Thomas R. Ward served as 
Worshipful Master twenty-two years,— the longest in 
point of service of any of the Worshipful Masters. 

Wm. E. W. Yerby has served the Lodge as Secretary 
for fifteen consecutive years, i. e., from 1893 to 1908— 
the longest period ever served by any Secretary during 
the eighty-three years of its existence. 

ROYAL ARCH CHAPTER. 

Phoenix Royal Arch Chapter No. 11, under dispensa^ 
tion, was organized April 16, 1838, at Greensboro, Ala., 
with the following members : 

Charles Whelan, H. P.; J. B. McVinoy, King; John Fife, 
Scribe ; Henry Webb, C. of H. ; R. Haygood, P. S. ; W. D.' 
Baldwin, R. A. C. ; R. B. Walthall, Charles Briggs, A. B. 
Winn, M. of Veils. 

A charter was granted by the Grand Chapter dated 
December 6, 1838, and was forfeited in December, 1876. 
The following are the names of the High Priests : 

Charles Whelan, 1839 to 1844; Rev. Thomas Capers, 
1845; Charles Whelan, 1846; William Kerr, 1847 to 1848; 
Volney Boardman, 1849; William Kerr, 1850; Francis 
M. Peterson, 1851 to 1859; William Kerr, 1860 to 1865; 
N. T. Lupton, 1866 to 1867; Thomas R. Ward, 1868; N.' 
T. Lupton, 1869; Reuben H. Jackson, 1870 to 1872; Fran- 
cis M. Peterson, 1873 to 1874. 

A dispensation was issued August 29, 1902, to the fol- 
lowing Companions to organize a new Royal Arch Chap- 



114 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

ter in Greensboro, to be known as Phoenix Chapter No. 
121: 

John M. P. Otts, Jr., H. P.; William Smaw, King; John 
G. Apsey, Sr., Scribe; Lee M, Otts, John G. Apsey, Jr., 
A. C. Jones, George Findlay, R. U. Dubois, H. T. Waller. 
After the organization of the Chapter other members 
were: J. D. Hamilton, Wm, E. W. Yerby, T. G. Jones, 
John A. Straiton, Richard Muckle, Henry A. Andrews. 
George Delaney, N. L. Castleman, Chas. E. Waller, E. P. 
McCollum. 

In December, 1907, Phoenix No. 121 forfeited its 
Charter. 

KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS. 

Eureka Lodge No. 29, Knights of Pythias of Greens- 
boro, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of the State of 
Alabama on the first day of April, 1880. 

The following are the charter members : Mayer Frank, 
S. Markstein, Abe Frank, Henry Beck, S. M. Marx, J. L. 
Levy, A. H. Williams, J. Friedlander, P. N. Booker, R. 
Inge, L. J. Lawson, J. B. Coleman, A. B. Loveman, J. M. 
Shivers, A. I. Klein and M. W. Redus. 

The Charter is duly signed by George F. Taylor, Grand 
Chancellor of the State of Alabama. The charter mem- 
bers at once went industriously to work to build up Eu- 
reka Lodge No. 29, and the membership has at times been 
as high as one hundred. 

Eureka No. 29 has never owned its lodge room, but 
has rented quarters from various parties. The first lodge 
room was the upstairs over the hardware store of George 
Findlay, — now occupied as The Watchman office. The 
meetings were held there for a number of years, and then 
the Lodge rented other quarters from M. Steinhart, up- 
stairs in the building immediately in the rear of the Stein- 
hart store. After remaining there for a term of years. 
J. A. Blunt built a room in the third story of the Opera 



LODGES 115 

House building especially for Eureka Lodge, since which 
time the meetings have been held therein. 
The present membership is about fifty. 

THE ODD FELLOWS. 

On February 24, 1845, George W. Freiderick and five 
others, applied for and obtained a Charter to establish a 
lodge of Odd Fellows in Greensboro, and on the 1st of 
March, 1845, Grand Chaplain Williamson came to Greens- 
boro and instituted Lodge No. 8, I. 0. O. F. It prospered 
for a time, and then the Charter was forfeited. There 
has been no lodge of Odd Fellows in the town for many 
years. 




JEFFRIES A. BLUNT. 



Chapter XVI. 

MODERN GREENSBORO. 

Any history of modern Greensboro with J. A. Blunt 
omitted, would resemble the play of Hamlet with Hamlet 
left out, for no more progressive and enterprising man 
ever resided in the town, — nor one who took more pride 
in the advancement of everything that tended to the up- 
building of the place. His name is identified with many 
of the most substantial improvements that have been 
made of recent years. 

Jeffries A, Blunt is the son of the late E. A. Blunt and 
his wife Mary Francis Hall Blunt, and was born in Mar- 
ion, Alabama, on the 5th day of December, 1861. At the 
age of thirteen years — 1874 — he came to Greensboro and 
clerked in the general merchandise store of A. S. Jeffries 
for three years, at the expiration of which time he en- 
tered the employ of James W. McCrary, as a clerk in his 
store. He held this position for ten years, when he and 
M. M. Avery entered the mercantile business, buying out 
A. S. Jeffries, the style of the firm being Avery & Blunt. 
In 1894, upon the organization of the Bank of Greens- 
boro, Mr. Blunt was elected as Cashier, which position 
he held until 1896, when he was elected as President of 
the institution, which position he has filled since that time 
to the present with marked ability and success. 

Mr. Blunt served for a dozen or more years on the 
Town Council, and it was largely through his efforts that 
the cemented sidewalks were put down in the business 
portion of Greensboro, and also that the Main Street 
was cherted from the depot to the cemetery. 



118 HISTORY OF GREEXSBORO. ALA. 

The reader will find, in perusing this volume, that Mr. 
Blunt's name is connected with a number of Greensboro's 
enterprises, and many of the principal buildings. 

In 1897, Mr. Blunt erected a two story brick structure 
filling the space on the south side of Main street between 
the Steinhart building and the Dorman stores. In the 
upper story he fitted up a pretty Public Hall, and the 
building was given the name of the ''Opera House Block." 
This structure was burned to the ground on the night 
of Nov. 24, 1902, as were also the Dorman stores. It 
was the most disastrous fire in the history of Greensboro, 
the losses footing up about $70,000. In 1903, Mr. Blunt 
replaced the burned stores with the present handsome 
building — the most imposing ever erected in the town. 
The same year, Mr. C. A. Ramsey rebuilt the Dorman 
block, the present handsome stores being the result. In 
this block has been conducted since 1847, the Stollen- 
werck drug store, which was established in that year by 
Alphonse Stollenwerck, who died in Greensboro on Au- 
gust 11, 1900. Since his death, the business has been con- 
ducted by his sons. Mr. Stollenwerck was an honored 
and much respected citizen of Greensboro for more than 
half century. 




MAIN STKKKT Ol' (iKEKiN .■>!.( >Ku 
Looking West from the Methodist Parsonage. 



MODERN GREENSBORO ' 119 




BLUNT'S OPERA HOUSE AND THE DORMAN BLOCK. 

FIRST HOUSES BUILT AFTER THE WAR. 

It would be superfluous to state that for nearly twenty 
years after the close of the war between the North and 
South that enterprise and progress were unknown quan- 
tities in the smaller towns of this section. The people 
were disheartened, and had to adjust themselves to 
new conditions — conditions that were hard, and seeming- 
ly unbearable, for they were so different from those to 
which they had been accustomed. 

It was not until the year 1884 that there was a sem- 
blance of building of new stores or residences in Greens- 
boro. The sound of the hammer and the saw had been 
unknown for nearly a quarter of a century. But in 1884, 
S. H. Lawrence built the little wooden store house on the 
south side of Main street now occupied by Wynne as a 
beef market. He soon afterward erected a cottage on the 



120 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

lot on which is now situated the handsome home of Thom- 
as R. Ward, Jr. A few years prior to this, Col. L. J. 
Lawson built his present residence on Tuscaloosa street. 

The building spirit was soon caught by others, for in 
the early part of 1886 the residence of Mrs. W. D. Lee 
on Demopolis street was erected, and that of Prof. F. M. 
Peterson on Main street, — now owned by Thos. H. Jones. 

Up to this time no building had been done in Greens- 
boro worthy of note — indeed, so strange a thing was the 
erection of a house, that the writer recalls that as he was 
passing one of the structures mentioned above while it 
was in course of building, that a little girl asked him what 
the men who were at work on the residence were doing, 
and when informed that they were building a house she 
said: "Well, I declare! I thought that when God made 
the world He made at the same time the houses the people 
live in." 

Other improvements begun to be made, and Greensboro 
was progressing well until the "Birmingham boom" broke 
in full force upon the citizens, not only of Greensboro, 
but of Hale county as well. Hundreds of thousands of 
dollars were carried there and invested — the buyers of 
real estate hoping to become immensely wealthy. Some 
of them did well — many others did not, but lost heavily 
when the inevitable crash came, and prices of real estate 
shot downward, the winds of adversity seeming to blow 
untempered upon the "shorn lambs." 

The large amount of money taken from Greensboro to 
Birmingham during 1886 and 1887 almost put a stop to 
the progress of the town in the matter of new buildings 
for several years. 

However, in 1887, Capt. S. T. Taylor moved to Greens- 
boro from Mississippi, and purchased what was then 
known as the Scarff corner, at the intersection of Tusca- 
loosa and Main streets, and upon it he built the first 
brick store (possibly the one which W. W. Overstreet 
now owns and occupies being excepted) that had been 



MODERN GREENSBORO 121 

built for forty years or more. J. S. Buchanan was the 
contractor at the price of $10,000. This only applies to 
the two story building on the corner — for the two stores 
immediately east of and adjoining this one were built 
by James W. McCrary in 1890. 

In 1891, T. R. Ward & Son removed the small wooden 
building on Main street which Dr. T. R. Ward had oc- 
cupied as an office for many years, and erected the pres- 
ent brick structure. The same year, G. W. Dugger added 
a story to the Greensboro Hotel. 

Morris Steinhart in 1894 tore away the wooden build- 
ing in which J. W. McCrary did business for many years, 
and erected two brick stores and a brick warehouse on 
the site. 

In 1895, the colored Baptists begun the building of a 
large brick church on "Baptist Hill." The work, while 
at present well under way, has by no means been complet- 
ed. The same year, W. E. Torbert built his present brick 
livery stable. Dr. A. Lawson also remodeled his bank 
building. 

In 1897, J. A. Blunt erected a two story brick store 
now owned and occupied by P. F. Osborn. 

In December, 1896, the building on Main street known 
as the old Christian Hotel, was destroyed by fire. It had 
been standing since about 1829, and was at one time re- 
garded as among the finest two story bricks in the town. 
It was for a long while kept as a hotel by Mrs. Christian, 
a saintly woman, whose memory is yet kept alive by the 
older inhabitants. She was the mother of Judge W. C. 
Christian and of Mrs. L. W. Turpin, now of Greensboro. 
In 1898 Mrs. W. C. Tunstall, who owned the property, 
had the present one-story brick stores erected on the site 
of the old hotel building. 

In the old days there formerly stood a brick building 
where the Johnson-Winn Millinery establishment now 
stands known as the "Mansion House," which was kept 
as a hotel for a few years by the late Col. John G. Har- 



122 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

vey. While it was under his charge, sometime about 
1843, the building fell, wrecking nearly everything on 
the interior and killing a jeweler named Munn. 

In 1898, Benners and Jack removed the small wooden 
structures on Main street formerly occupied as law of- 
fices, and erected the two-story brick structure just east 
of Dr. Lawson's property. The same year Ed. deGraf- 
fenreid built the two-story structure at present occupied 
by Gulley & Christian, 

In 1899, Tutwiler & Jones removed the wooden build- 
ings on the corner east of the Benners & Jack building 
and erected the two-story brick that stands there at pres- 
ent. 

In 1900, S. P. Stickney, who had purchased the L. Law- 
son property on Main street, removed the wooden struc- 
tures standing thereon and erected the brick store occu- 
pied by F. F. Whittle, and also the one immediately 
east of it. This was the last wooden structure on the 
north side of the business portion of the town. 

The passing of the old Lawson store recalled the memory 
of one of the noblest, sweetest-spirited Christian gentle- 
men that ever resided in the town — Lewis Lawson, the 
father of Dr. A. Lawson and Col. L. J. Lawson. He came 
to Greensboro from England, and for many years con- 
ducted a successful mercantile business here. In all good 
works he was foremost, and was true to every responsi- 
bility of life. Mr. Lawson died in Greensboro in De- 
cember, 1881, honored and respected by those among 
whom he had resided for so many years. It was through 
his kindness of heart that Greensboro was indebted 
for another most excellent citizen — Richard Andrews, 
also from England. Mr. Lawson met Andrews, a wan- 
dering waif, in Mobile, and brought him to Greensboro 
and gave him employment in his store, where he re- 
mained until he was, in 1868, given the position as clerk 
of the Probate Court of Hale county, which position he 
filled with great credit until his death in January, 1907. 



MODERN GREENSBORO 123 

In the earlier days of his life, Mr. Andrews followed 
the sea — being a sailor on a lumber ship that plied the 
ocean. »The wind never blew angrily that it did not recall 
to his mind his life as a sailor lad. There was one inci- 
dent that was impressed indelibly upon his memory. 
While a severe storm was raging and the waves were run- 
ning mountain-high, just as a sailor who was high up on 
one of the masts unloosing sails, uttered a frightful oath, a 
great gust of wind, more severe than any that had blown, 
swept him from the mast out into the angry waters. His 
body was never recovered. The thought of this poor fel- 
low being ushered into eternity with that awful oath 
upon his lips always made this good man shudder. 

In 1902, Dr. S. C. Carson erected his Sanitarium, and 
A. M. Tunstall built his law office. 

In 1902, John A. Straiton established his manufactur- 
ing plant in Greensboro, where is turned out numerous 
articles for building and furnishing houses. 

In 1904, M. D. L. Moore built the livery stable and 
three stores on the south side of Main street at the in- 
tersection of Tuscaloosa street. 

In 1906-7, J. A. Blunt greatly improved the Greensboro 
hotel, and also, a few years previous to this time, erected 
the building now occupied as the Postoffice, and also the 
offices immediately to the south of this building, practi- 
cally opening up a new business section of the town. 

The brick structures in Greensboro not mentioned as 
having been erected since the war have been standing so 
long that no present inhabitant remembers when they 
were built, 

A very large number of handsome residences have been 
erected during the past twenty years, and the town has 
steadily progressed. 

Greensboro is situated in the heart of a fine agricultur- 
al country, and while it may never become a very large 
city, it will always maintain a degree of prosperity pro- 
portionate to the success of those who cultivate the farms. 




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Chapter XVII. 

WATER WORKS. 

It is a far cry from "the old osken bucket that hung in 
the well" to a modern system of water works, but that is 
the distance Greensboro has traveled. In the early days, 
the citizens were entirely dependent upon the water 
drawn from wells by means of rope and bucket for their 
supply. The business portion of the town was furnished 
from a couple of wells — one of which was located in the 
exact center of the Main street where it is intersected by 
Tuscaloosa street, and the other was in the center of Main 
street where it is intersected by Market and PostofRce 
streets. 

As the town increased in population, these wells were 
found to be badly situated and were filled in, and three 
others dug in their stead, — one on the edge of the side- 
walk on the south side of Main street nearly opposite 
the Powers store; one on the edge of the sidewalk on 
the north side of Main street at the southeast corner 
of the Greensboro Hotel, and the other on the south 
side of Main street on the edge of the sidewalk 
northwest of the Court House. These wells were 
supplied with pumps, instead of buckets, in 1874, and 
the citizens considered that quite an advance in the line 
of progress had been made. This method of obtaining 
water was continued until 1893, when a complete sys- 
tem of water works was inaugurated by Charles E. Wal- 
ler, Esq., and the wells were filled up, and are now parts 
of the sidewalk. 



126 



HISTORY OF GREEXSBORO. A LA. 




HON. CHARLES E. WALLER. 
He established the Greensboro Water Works System. 

The first steps toward obtaining water works was made 
by the town authorities in 1890, when, with the object in 
view of obtaining an overflowing well of artesian water, 
they contracted to have one bored. The work was begun 
that year, and continued for about eighteen months on a 
lot which is now covered by the southwest corner of the 
Court House. 

Just here it is worthy of note that one day, just as the 
workman had wearily picked through about twenty feet 
of rock at a depth of 520 feet, his auger suddenly dropped 
a distance of 15 feet, and the water in the piping that had 
for a month or more stood at a depth of 48 feet from the 
surface, receded to a depth of 110 feet. From these facts 
it was decided by those who know much of geology, that 
it was an underground river fifteen feet deep that had 



ELECTRIC LIGHTS 127 

been struck. The iron casing was, after a time, forced 
through the gap, and the work of boring continued until 
a depth of 890 feet was reached, when the workman 
broke off his drill, and after many vain efforts to remove 
it, the well was abandoned, after an expenditure by the 
town of about $5,000.00. 

Somewhat discouraged, but not entirely disheartened, 
by the first failure, the town authorities decided to try 
again, and put the workman to boring in the bottom im- 
mediately south of Main street where the Water and 
Light Plant is now located. They were successful here, 
for in a few weeks, at a depth of 432 feet, a bold stream 
was struck that overflowed gently. Another well was 
bored near this one, and at the same depth the same 
stream was struck. The cost of the two was only $550.00. 

Not wishing to undertake the ''Municipal Ownership" 
problem, the Mayor and Council contracted with Charles 
E. Waller, Esq., to take the wells, and he at once proceed- 
ed to establish a system of water works. Mr. Waller paid 
the town $1200.00 for the last two mentioned wells and 
a couple of small lots adjacent. He was granted a fran- 
chise for a period of thirty years from 1893, — the fran- 
chise to be renewed and extended another thirty years at 
the expiration of the first period should he or his succes- 
sors and assigns choose to renew the contract, and the 
terms of the contract having been faithfully complied 
with by the party of the second part. 

Mr. Waller continued to own the Water Works until 
the year 1900, when he disposed of the property to James 
E. Webb of Birmingham. 

ELECTRIC LIGHTS. 

Greensboro, from its foundation up to the year 1883, 
never knew what it was to have even a street lamp. Look- 
ing at the matter now, it appears inconceivable that the 
citizens should have allowed the streets to remain in total 
darkness after nightfall for about 65 years, — but such 



128 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

is the fact, for it was not until 1883 that W. W, Powers 
appeared before the Mayor and Council and presented 
a petition signed by eighty citizens and tax-payers pray- 
ing that body to erect twenty street lamps at convenient 
places on certain streets of the town. The petition was 
granted, and the lamps were, in a few months, placed in 
position. In 1885, the number of lights was increased to 
thirty. Mr. Powers was among the most sterling, pro- 
gressive and successful business men of his day. 

In December, 1899, the Mayor and Council granted 
James E. Webb of Birmingham, the privilege of erecting 
and operating an Electric Light Plant in Greensboro, and 
in 1900 the kerosene lamps that had been on duty for 
seventeen years were put out of commission, and their 
places supplied with arc lights, — twenty-three in number, 

Mr. Webb purchased the Water Works of Charles E. 
Waller in 1900, and combined the Electric and Water 
Works Plants, — the combination being styled "The 
Greensboro Water and Light Company." 

Mr. Webb continued to own and operate the plant until 
1904, when it was purchased by J. A. Blunt and associ- 
ates, by whom it is now owned and operated. 

The present steel water tank was erected in 1905, and 
has a capacity of 80,000 gallons. Its extreme height is 
1361/2 feet. 

ARTESIAN WELLS. 

While a number of unsuccessful attempts have been 
made to get overflowing wells in Greensboro proper, yet 
a few miles south, and also west, of the town there are 
many of these wells — some of them furnishing great quan- 
tities of water. There is one located twelve miles south- 
west of Greensboro on what is known as the "Goodrum 
Place," that possibly furnishes a greater amount of water 
than any other in the United States. It is ten inches in 
diameter, and the water gushes out of the earth from a 
depth of six hundred feet in such volume that a sufficient 
quantity is furnished to run a grist mill, cotton ginnery, 



ARTESIAN WELLS 



129 




ONE OF THE LARGEST ARTESIAN WELLS IN THE WORLD 

Situated ten miles Southwest of Greensboro. 

cotton press and saw mill. It was bored in 1852 by Col. 
Samuel Pickens, and for over half a century it has con- 
tinued to flow with imperceptible diminution in the quan- 
tity of water. To give an idea of the amount of water 
that is furnished by the well, it is only necessary to state 
that the trough around it is four feet across, and when the 
water falls back it fills the trough from side to side. 

The grist mill, ginnery and saw mill run by the water 
from this well are situated on a hillside about a hundred 
yards away, and the water is carried to it by means of a 
canal cut in the solid limerock. Just under the mill house 
is a well three feet in diameter and forty feet deep. In 



130 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

this, at a depth of twenty-five feet, is a turbine wheel, 
and the water from the canal is turned on when it is de- 
sired to put the machinery in motion. A tunnel from the 
bottom of this 40-foot well has been cut a distance of a 
hundred yards — ranging upward — and the waste water 
is turned into a branch. The accompanying picture gives 
some idea of the magnitude of this remarkable artesian 
well. 

FIRE COMPANIES. 

The first Fire Company organized in Greensboro was 
on the 28th of February, 1868, on which date a number 
of citizens of the town met in the old Franklin Hall and 
discussed the necessity of such an organization. R. H. 
Jackson was chairman of the meeting, and Dr. Jas. D. 
Osborne was secretary. After a thorough discussion of 
the matter, and the passage of a resolution to form "The 
Greensboro Fire Company," the following officers were 
elected : 

A. E. McClure, President; Wm. G. Hafner, 1st assis- 
tant; N. P. Lawrence, 2d assistant; James D. Osborne, 
secretary; Thomas J. Seay, treasurer. 

On December 16th, 1869, an Act was approved incor- 
porating the Greensboro Fire Company No. 1, the cor- 
porate name being the "Greensboro Fire Company No. 1, 
of the town of Greensboro, Alabama," Those named in 
the body of the Act as incorporators are : L. J. Lawson, 
R. H. Jackson, George Breitenbach, E. T. Hutchinson, 
T. J. Seay and A. H. Benners. The following is a roll of 
"Greensboro Fire Company No. 1:" 

L. J. Lawson, Foreman. Briggs, S. G., Jr. 

C. A Ramsey, 1st Assistant. Carson S. C. 

Geo. Breitenbach, 2nd Assistant c ^ - v> i: 

E. T. Hutcliinson, Secretary. ^^i-on, r. iv. 

Alex H. Williams, Treasurer. Coleman. J. B. 

Atkins, Jno. H. Douglass, R. B. 

Benners, A. H. DuBose, C. P. 

Boaidman, H. Fain, J. E. 

Briggs, C. T. Gayle, J. M. 



FIRE COMPANIES 131 

Hamilton, J. D. Mellown, S. S. 

Hooton, H. H. Nelson G. T. 

Johnson, C. A. Parish, E. T. 

Johnson, W. P. Roberts, W. W. 

Johnson, Frank. Seay, T. J. 

Leiser, J. P. Sharon, F. P. 

Love, J. E. Stockton, John T. 

Loveman, A. Tramill, S. C. 

McDonald, Peyton C. Williams, J. A. 
Wills, W. D. 

"Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company" was soon after- 
ward organized as an adjunct to the Fire Company, but 
lasted only a few years. 

In 1893, the Fire Company of which the present is the 
successor, was organized, and the old Market House was 
set apart by the Mayor and Council as a fire house. It 
was overhauled and made a very suitable place for the 
storing of the fire apparatus. It is yet in use by the Com- 
pany. The members of the present Greensboro Fire Com- 
pany are as follows : 

Chief— C. Y. Stollenwerck. 

Foreman & Secretary — N. L. Crabb. 

Treasurer — N. L. Crabb. 

Members : 

Otts, E. V. Sledge, W. G. 

Payne Walter. Helton Robert 

Reasonover, W. L. Torbei't, Edgar 

Waller. C. E. Jr. Wilson, W. C. 

Davis, H. A. Wmn, Lee. 

Ctts, J. W. Sledge, E. W. 

Waller, A. E. Scale, Walter. 
Powers, A. J. 



Chapter XVIII. 

COURT HOUSE AND JAIL. 




COL. STEPHEN F. HALE, 

In honor of whose memory Hale Covmty was named. He was a 
prominent lawyer of Greene County, Ala., residing at Eutaw, 
and represented Greene in the Leg:islature a number of terms. 
He was a soldier in the Mexican War, 1845, and made a bril- 
liant record. He held the rank of Lieut -Colonel in the Con- 
federate war, belonging to the Army of Virginia. Col. Hale 
was killed in 1862 in one of the battles around Richmond. 

On January 30th, 1867, the Legislature passed an Act 
creating Hale county. It was named for Col. Stephen F. 
Hale, a prominent and highly respected citizen of Greene 
county, from which latter county Hale was carved. The 
first election for county officers was held in March of the 
same year, and resulted in the election of Alfred H. Hutch- 



134 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

inson as probate judge; J. E. Griggs, sheriff; James A. 
Tallman, circuit clerk (Mr. Tallman failing to qualify, 
the Governor appointed Volney Boardman to fill the posi- 
tion, which he occupied about 25 years) ; Ed. Nutting, 
tax assessor; Dan H. Britton, tax collector; I. F. Lewis, 
R. B. Allen, Burrell Johnson and A. S. Jeffries, county 
commissioners; P. T. Wright, justice of the peace, and 
Benjamin E. Dorman, constable. 

At this election the question of locating the court house 
was submitted to a vote of the people. There were three 
candidates for the county seat, namely : Greensboro, 
Bucksnort, and Five Mile Church. The vote was as fol- 
lows : For Greensboro, 570 votes ; for Bucksnort, 280 
votes, and for Five Mile Church, 124 votes. Greensboro 
received 166 majority over all, and was declared the 
county seat of Hale county. 

Pending the decision of the voters on the question of 
locating the court house, the citizens of Greensboro pledg- 
ed that in the event the citizens of Hale would put it in 
Greensboro they would furnish the county a court house 
and jail free of charge. This promise they kept, but it 
was the cause of considerable friction for several years 
in the town when the question of raising the money to 
pay for the buildings was brought home to the tax payers. 

On the 13th day of December, 1867, the Intendant and 
Council of Greensboro purchased from the Alabama Bap- 
tist State Convention their church building, then known 
as "Salem Baptist Church," for the sum of $8,000. The 
church stood where the present court house stands. The 
deed to the town to this property is signed by J. L. M. 
Curry and Charles Manley for the Baptists, and is wit- 
nessed by James D. Spiller and U. P. Walker. 

On the 5th day of April, 1868, the "Intendant and Coun- 
cil of the Town of Greensboro," conveyed the property to 
Hale county, on the following conditions : "The use and 
right of property to the premises conveyed shall be and 
remain in the County of Hale so long as Greensboro shall 



GRAVES AND GRAVEYARDS 135 

remain the county seat ; but if at any time or in any event 
the said Greensboro shall cease to be the county seat of 
said county, and the purposes for which this deed is given 
should fail, then all right, title and interest in and to the 
said land and buildings conveyed shall revert to, and be 
vested in and belong to the said town of Greensboro, 
which shall then have the right to enter upon and take 
possession thereof." 

The deed is signed by Amasa M. Dorman as Mayor, 
who by the way, was one of the most progressive and 
useful citizens of the town. He was Mayor of Greens- 
boro for a dozen or more years and it was his pride to 




THE OLD COURT HOUSE 

Which was torn down in 1907 to make room for the present Court 
House The middle portion of the old structure was formerly 
Salem Baptist Church. 

beautify the streets of the town. To him Greensboro is 
indebted for the magnificent oaks along the Main street. 
He died March 20th, 1885, and is buried in the Greensboro 
cemetery. 

Owing to dissensions of citizens in regard to the man- 
ner in which the Mayor and Council managed the court 
house and jail question, the Governor in December, 1868, 
removed the Mayor and Councilmen and appointed others 
in their stead. A special tax was levied upon the pro- 
perty in the town to pay for the court house and jail, and 
there was much dissatisfaction on the subject for some 
years. 



136 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

It was not until September, 1871, that the present jail 
was completed and turned over to the county by the town. 
During the interim, the county used the calaboose of the 
town for a prison. It is still standing, a curious looking 
little two-room building situated almost in the heart of 
the city in the rear of the present fire house. 

In November, 1905, the question of issuing $30,000 
worth of bonds by Hale county, to bear 5 per cent in- 
terest, for the purpose of constructing a new court house 
was submitted to the people, and the bond issue was car- 
ried. In November, 1906, the contract was let, and in 
January, 1907, work on the present court house was be- 
gun, and the building was completed in May, 1908. John 
A. Straiton was the contractor, his bid being $44,767.19, 
It was found, before the contract was let, that the $30,- 
000 was not sufficient to build the structure, so the com- 
missioners at their August, 1907, term instructed the pro- 
bate judge to issue twenty county warrants for the sum 
of one thousand dollars each and to sell them and get the 
money with which to complete the building. This was 
done the October following. These warrants are be- 
ing paid yearly at the rate of $1,000 a year, and bear 6 
per cent interest. 

The first session of court held in the new structure was 
in April, 1908, Judge B. M. Miller presiding. 

GRAVES AND GRAVEYARDS. 

There are a number of scattered graves in Greensboro 
of which the present generation — most of them — know 
nothing. 

On the eastern edge of the woods in the rear of the 
Otts residence are quite a number of graves, the dead of 
Troy being interred there. No tombstones are to be seen, 
but the graves are bricked up, and all that is known is, 
that beneath the sod repose the remains of some of the 
ancient settlers of this section — their names and their 
history being entirely obliterated. 



GRAVES AND GRAVEYARDS 



137 




GRAVES OF FREDERICK AND THOMAS PECK. 
Among the first inhabitants of Greensboro. 

There are also a number of graves in t'ne rear of Dr. 
A. Lawson's residence — it being the burial place of the 
Pecks. 

Here lie the remains of Frederick Peck, one of the ear- 
liest settlers of Greensboro, who was the first postmas- 
ter and among the very first merchants of the place. 
He died February 4th, 1846, Mrs. Eliza Peck is also 
buried here, she having died in April, 1863. Rev. Wm. S. 
Peck, formerly the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at 
Livingston, is buried here. He died in September, 1849, 
In this same enclosure are the graves of Mrs. Sophia 
Wemyss, who died in September, 1822, and Edwin A. 
Wemyss, who died in June, 1855. The Wemyss' were for- 
merly very prominent citizens of this place. In the 
northwest corner of the little graveyard, solitary and 
alone, is a tombstone, bearing this inscription : "Abram 
Duff, Born April, 1790; died June, 1852." He was prob- 
ably a relative of the Pecks or Wemyss', but not a soul 
could be found who remembered that he had ever resided 
in the town of Greensboro, though he supposedly lived 
here a long while. 



138 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

In a clump of woods in the rear of Dr. R. H, Jackson's 
old homestead on Demopolis street, is the family grave- 
yard of the Mays. In this lot is buried General Patrick 
May, who joined General Andrew Jackson's forces when 
they were in Alabama quelling disturbances with the In- 
dians. He was a very brave soldier. At the battle of 
Burnt Corn, which was fought in 1813, Lieut. May and 
two other soldiers, became separated from the main body 
of the army while fighting with the Indians in a swamp. 
The savages were concealed in a dense cane'orake, and the 
three men were battling with a large number of them, 
As the fight progressed, a tall,swathy warrior, more brave 
than his fellows, came out of hiding and leveled his gun on 
May, who also threw his into position. The weapons were 
discharged at the same instant. The Indian warrior fell 
forward a corpse, while May was uninjured, but the fire 
of the savage shattered May's gun near the lock. Being 
thus disarm.ed, he thought it best to retreat, and the three 
made a rush for their horses, but before reaching them, 
one of the soldiers, Lieut. Girard W. Creagh, was shot 
down by the Indians, the ball entering his hip. He fell 
upon the ground, exclaiming: "Save me. Lieutenant, or 
I am gone!" Instantly, May wheeled around, ran to his 
fallen companion, raised him from the ground and bore 
him ofi" on his back, — the Indians following rapidly. 
Reaching their horses, Creagh was placed on his animal, 
and May and the other soldier leaped into their saddles, 
and made off at full speed, soon joining the main body of 
troops from which they had become seoarated. May be- 
came a noted Indian fighter in the succeeding years. He 
died at his home in Greensboro — the red brick house on 
the hill to the east of Brick Springs — on April 5th, 1868, 
and was buried in the family graveyard. No tomb has 
•ever been erected above his grave, and it is a mere matter 
of speculation which of the mounds of earth his re- 
mains lie beneath. 

Many years after the happening at Burnt Corn, when 



GRAVES AND GRAVEYARDS 139 

the young man whose life May had saved had married 
and his children were grown, a son of Creagli, having of- 
ten heard the incident related above told by his father, 
resolved to see the man to whom his father owed his life. 
He came to Greensboro, met thv3 General and his family, 
fell in love with one of his daughters, and they were hap- 
pily married, — the Creaghs of Selma and Birmingham 
being the children of this marriage. 

For more than half a century after the settlement of 
Greensboro, there were no public graveyards — all bur- 
ials being made on private ground. The Stokes grave- 
yard, in the northern suburbs of the town — where lie 
the remains of the older inhabitants, was never a public 
burial place. It was owned by private individuals, and 
the lots were bought from them. 

When the question came up for the purchase by the 
town of Greensboro of a public cemetery, this place, of 
course, was under serious consideration by those who had 
the matter in charge. The land was of little value for cul- 
tivation, and was really worth only a nominal sum, but 
the owners, knowing the interest the public and the rela- 
tives of those who were buried there felt in the matter, 
demanded what was considered a most exorbitant price 
for the plat, which the town authorities refused to pay. 
Much bad feeling was engendered, which lasted for quite 
a long while — in fact, until all who had to do with the 
matter directly, needed for themselves a quiet resting 
place in a cemetery. 

The present site, known as the Greensboro cemetery, 
was bought by the town, and the Stokes graveyard grad- 
ually came into disuse as a burial place. Only an occa- 
sional interment is ever made therein. It presents a very 
sad and dilapidated appearance. 

In this old burial place repose the remains of the men 
and women who walked the streets of Greensboro when 
the town was young, and who owned the lands, the stores 
and houses for miles around. Their word was law in 



140 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 




View of a portion of the old Stokes Graveyard- 
June 28, 1908. 



-taken 



the old days. They established our churches and schools, 
directed the affairs of government, carried on the com- 
merce, and put forth their best efforts for the uplift of 
humanity. But they lived in a period of the history of 
this section to which the present generation is a stranger, 
— amidst the dazzling splendors of the "old South," 
when men owned slaves by the hundreds, and were lords 
upon their large landed estates. The great majority of 
them passed from the stage of action years before the 
changed conditions (resultant upon the civil war) took 
place in the Southland. Their long sleep was undisturbed 
by the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry as tre- 
mendous issues were fought out and decided in the bloody 
battles between the northern and southern troops nearly 
half a century ago. 

From the present appearance of the Stokes graveyard, 
it would seem that those who are buried there have beer, 
forgotten. Many of the tombs have toppled over, the 



GRAVES AND GRAVEYARDS 141 

brick vaults have crumbled, and only gaping cavities re- 
veal, in many instances, the last resting place of those 
over whom no tombs were erected. Brambles and briers 
run riot everywhere, and it is v/ith difficulty one makes 
his way through the tangled mass of undergrowth in this 
old burial place of the long ago. 

The following are the names of some of those who 
have rested out there on the hillside for many, many 
years, — names that are known far beyond the confines 
of Greensboro and of Alabama : 

Robert Heywood McFadden, died 1858; John D. Moore, 
died 1849 ; Thomas M. Johnston, died 1863 ; Catherine, 
wife of Wm. A. Jones, died 1852; Mary Ellen, wife of 
Richard H. Lewis, and daughter of Louis A. Foreman, 
died 1840; Thomas H. Shackelford, died 1840; John R. 
Witherspoon, died 1852; Wm. T. Bryan, died 1827; 
Thomas W. Witherspoon, died 1836; Rev. Thomas S. 
Witherspoon, died 1844 ; Robert Franklin Witherspoon, 
died 1840 ; Rev. J. Hillhouse, died 1835 ; Elizabeth Stokes, 
died 1833 ; George M. Johnston, died 1834 ; James John- 
ston Huckabee, died 1854 ; James Huckabee, died 1851 ; 
George F. Huckabee, died 1851 ; Elizabeth Eddins, wife 
of Dr. D. Eddins, died 1850; Jesse Shivers, died 1845; 
Thomas Eddins, died 1850; Miles S. Wright, died 1843; 
John Locke, died 1848; Wm. S. Bird, died 1840; James 
Cowan, died 1844; William Alfred Locke, died 1845; 
Jane, wife of Squire Lowry, died 1840; Martha Stewart, 
wife of Larkin Stewart, died 1841 ; William P. Stewart, 
died 1843; Amanda F. Peterson, died 1858; Jane Byrd 
Page, died 1840; Dr. Elisha Young, senior and junior. 

Eight miles to the westward from Greensboro, on the 
Tuscaloosa and Sawyerville road near the public thor- 
oughfare, is a desolate and neglected graveyard in which 
are buried the remains of a number of the French refu- 
gees who came to this section of Alabama after the down- 
fall of Napoleon at Waterloo. For years many of them 
lived in the neighborhood where the graveyard is located. 



142 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 




OLD FRENCH GRAVEYARD. 

The trees shown in the picture have grown above the graves of a 
number of the refugees. 

and died exiles from the land of their nativity. In a 
radius of five miles resided the Bayols. the Bordens, the 
Stollenwercks, the Maniers, the Baumgardiners and 
others. Manier was a school teacher, and the house in 
which he resided and taught the children of the past 
generation is still to be seen. The Roudets and the 
Gardins, and perhaps others over whom no tombs are now 
standing, are buried in the little cemetery, and some of 
them have been resting out there in the wide stretch of 
the prairies for more than seventy years. Huge maple 
trees have grown up on the graves of the quiet sleepers, 
and in the beautiful green foliage the mocking birds 
pour forth their sweetest songs throughout the day, and 
the silent stars keep watch by night above this last rest- 
ing place of those who loved the great Emperor too 
well, and who paid the penalty of that devotion by fill- 
ing an exile's grave in a land far away from bright and 
sunny La Belle France, — as did Napoleon himself on the 
lonely Isle of St. Helena. 



Chapter XIX, 

CLIMATOLOGY OF GREENSBORO, ALABAMA. 

Greensboro is situated in the north-central portion 
of Hale county, Ala., in latitude 32° 42' north, longitude 
87° 35' west, and at an elevation of 220 feet above the sea 
level. 

The climatic record of Greensboro began in January, 
1855, when the station was established by the Smithson- 
ian Institute. Robert B. Waller, Sr., Capt. J. W. A. Wright 
and Prof. N. T. Lupton were observers at this station dur- 
ing the period from 1855 to 1888. The records were 
broken at intervals until January, 1888, when the station 
was established by the Signal Service — now the Wea- 
ther Bureau — with Prof. M. H. Yerby as the observer. 
Prof. Yerby made a continuous record up to the time of 
his death in October, 1900, since which date his son, W. 
E. W. Yerby, has co-operated with the Weather Bureau 
in the capacity of observer. 

The record shows the average temperature to be 64° ; 
the average for the winter, 48° ; spring, 64° ; summer, 
79 ° ; autumn, 65". The warmest year was 1891, with an 
average temperature of nearly 66° ; the coldest, 1857, with 
an average of 61°. The highest temperature recorded, 
105°, occurred July 12, 1901 ; the lowest, 5° below zero, 
occurred February 13, 1899. The average maximum tem- 
perature is 74° ; the average summer maximum is 90°. 
The average minimum temperature is 54°, and the aver- 
age winter minimum is 37°. The average number of days 
with maximum temperature above 90° is fifty-three; the 
average number of days with minimum temperature be- 
low 32° is thirty-three. The average date of the last 



144 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

killing frost in spring is March 20th; the average date 
of the first in autumn is November 8th. The earliest kill- 
ing frost of which there is a record occurred on October 
24th; the latest on April 5th. 

The precipitation record, while continuous since 1888 
only, covers thirty-five complete years and shows the aver- 
age annual amount to be 50 inches. The greatest amount 
recorded during any year was 68.98 inches in 1900; the 
least yearly amount was 35.67 inches in 1904. February 
and March are the wettest months, with an average of 
5.42 inches ; October is the driest month, with an average 
of 2.01 inches. The greatest amount of rain which fell 
during any one month was 14.81 inches, in May, 1903 ; 
the least monthly amount recorded was 0.08 inches, in 
October, 1904. The average number of days during the 
year with .01 inch or more of rain was 94. 

The average amount of snowfall for the winter is 0.5 
inch. The record shows, however, that snowfalls amount- 
ing to more than 4.0 inches occurred during February 
of several years, and that 10.0 inches of snow fell during 
March, 1900. 

The prevailing direction of the wind is from the north 
during November to February, inclusive, and from the 
south during the other months. 

The average number of clear days during the year is 
191 ; partly cloudy days, 51 ; cloudy days, 123. 

The following table shows the monthlv and annual pre- 
cipitation at Greensboro during the period in which the 
record has been kept : 



CLIMATOLOGY 



145 



PRECIPITATION. 
(In inches and hundredths.) 



YEAR 

IS55.... 
1856.... 
1857.... 
1858 . . . . 
1859.... 
I860.... 
1861.... 
1862.... 
1863.... 
1864.... 
1865.... 
1866.... 
1867.... 
1885 . . . . 
1886.... 
1888.... 
1889 . . . . 
1890.... 
1891.... 
1892.... 
1893.... 
1894.... 
1895 . . . . 
1896.... 
1897.... 
1898.... 
1899.... 
1900.... 
1901.... 
1902 . . . . 
1903.... 
1904.... 
1905.... 
1906..., 
1907 . . . . 



I JAN. I FEB. I MAR. | APR. I MAY I JUNE I JULY | AUG. | SEPT | OCT. I 



NOV 1 


DEC. 1 


5.24 


5.751 


12.79 


5.731 


6.04 


7.99 


3.19 


7.84 


1.95 


4.79| 


7.77 


6.36 


3.87 


2.58 


0.53 


3.091 


2.85 


7.391 


6.31 


5.20| 


2.94 


8.44| 


4.41 


3.781 


2.77 


5.11| 


7.32 


5.331 


4.53 


2.111 


3.13 


2.151 


4.13 


2.19| 


1.15 


3.371 


5.17 


5.031 


3.06 


4.56| 


3.22 


5.301 


"1.03 


5.3SI 


i.;(S4 


3.91| 


3.92 


^0.981 


2.73 


6.05| 


5.82 


.2.761 


1.75 


6.021 


4.25 


5.271 


2.59 


7.63| 


2.89 


5.91| 


0.54 


3.03] 


2.70 


2.53| 


1.43 


7.fi6| 


1.96 


4.30J 


5.13 


7.02| 



AN'L. 



1.33 


1.44 


1.64 


0.59 


1.79 


3.99 


1.68 


6.41 


6.29] 


3.52 


2.60 


6.16 


3.95 


5.23 


6.37 


1.91 


2.75 


0.58] 


5.17 


2.21 


3.34 


3.43 


8.55 


1.71 


4.75 


2.46 


0.84| 


9.29 


3.58 


3.15 


4.. 55 


3.26 


1.11 


0.91 


3.88 


0.14i 


4.29 


6.33 


7.00 


6.27 


1.96 


2.65 


7.20 


3.93 


5.52| 


2.16 


6.13 


0.91 


2.63 


1.41 


3.35 


4.06 


11.61 


3.90| 


4.85 


6.21 


3.02 


2.88 


2.32 


2.51 


4.41 


13.18 


1.79i 


8.39 


9.76 


5.12 


7.16 


1.29 


1.74 


0.36 


1.00 


4.141 


7.50 


9.51 


6.13 


3.70 


1.93 


4.61 


1.83 


5.84 


0.481 


2.45 


1.75 


9.15 


2.74 


1.32 


7.73 


2.04 


3.84 


6.79| 


4.85 


13.09 


6.11 


5.90 


1.02 


1.37 


2.14 


5.22 


2.741 


3.05 


7.05 


2.73 


7.38 


7.36 


6.31 


3.06 


5.22 


2.741 


1.86 


1.64 


9.55 


5.67 


3.85 


4.52 


3.06 


5.22 


2.74| 


S.94 


3.33 


2.92 


3.17 


5.88 


4.00 


2.51 


2.23 


l.S4| 


10.15 


5.-34 


11.72 


6.97 


2.86 


6.73 


5.95 


7.31 


0.541 


4.38 


4.38 


11.20 


2.16 


2.35 


4.14 


3.37 


9.29 


7.931 


5.40 


2.00 


1.52 


6.62 


0.61 


3.37 


4.52 


2.98 


1.91| 


3.42 


4.50 


5.65 


3.16 


4.58 


2.68 


5.38 


1.46 


8.98| 


6.75 


8.15 


8.86 


1.75 


2.02 


3.61 


4.82 


0.31 


1.7u| 


7.56 


2.86 


5.64 


1.96 


3.88 


4.58 


10.37 


3.53 


2.17 


2.42 


8.46 


3.36 


0.88 


11.85 


3.10 


>2:20 


7.72 


3.12 


4.91 


5.61 


4.94 


3.32 


1.44 


0.74 


2.96 


7.37 


3.46 


8.70 


3.37 


6.40 


2.76 


3.94 


4.32 


2.76 


5.64 


1.67| 


4.44 


4.66 


4.36 


4.64 


3.07 


6.15 


2.39 


2.25 


0.351 


5.74 


5.70 


6.54 


4.24 


1.09 


2.23 


6.61 


3.70 


0.741 


2.. 37 


1.77 


1.99 


4.81 


1.88 


5.97 


4.55 


5.06 


2.631 


1 6.44 


6.17 


6.74 


2.74 


3.19 


2.39 


4.43 


1.89 


0.50| 


3.19 


10.26 


4.62 


12.95 


1.57 


8.34 


2.29 


3.61 


4.66| 


4.34 


4.58 


5.23 


6.28 


6.09 


2.24 


3.09 


5.63 


4.021 


4.61 


5.28 


12.69 


2.04 


4.91 


0.35 


2. .01 


3.36 


3.84| 


3.50 


9.27 


4.22 


1.31 


14.81 


5.84 


3.67 


4.09 


1.171 


5.08 


4.62 


2.82 


1.65 


3.00 


1.19 


6.93 


2.78 


0.721 


1 6.98 


7.20 


3.43 


4.21 


4.13 


2.91 


2.23 


9.31 


1.80| 


1 4.47 


2.43 


13.84 


1.14 


4.69 


2.79 


5.05 


2.51 


6.87 


1 2.37 


5.27 


2.92 


9.71 


8.75 


2.61 


6.83 


2.39 


5.74 



1.45 
0.44 
1.49 
2.67 
1.56 
4.52 
2.31 
0.58 
2.85 
4.30 
2. OS 
2.13 
1.91 
1.37 
1.501 
4.40| 
0.37 
0.911 
0.23 
0.23 
1.28 
0.65 
1.25 
2.551 
1.96 
2.96 
0.87 
7.97 
0.25 
5.90 
0.85 
0.03 
4.40 
4.78 
1.50 



37.60 
52.23 
47.96 
40.57 
53.45 
54.81 
59.93 
43.16 
54.62 
53.62 
55.90 
55.22 
47.58 
48.84 
65.71 
58.88 
36.02 
45.24 
48.40 
50.40 
52.91 
41.75 
46.36 
39.86 
46.33 
41.57 
43.13 
68.98 
51.97 
53.79 
52.30 
35.67 
5,T.49 
5 4. S3 
60.24 



• •- Annual Average 50.15 1-5 

Greensboro has been remarkably free from cyclones, — 
not one being on record for this station. The most de- 
structive that ever visited this immediate section was on 
the night of January 21, 1904, Vv^hen Moundville, a town 
in the northern part of Hale county, was struck by 
a wind of unusual severity. The great majority of the 
houses were swept away, and those left standing were 
badly damaged. Thirty people — six whites and twenty- 
four colored — were killed, and seventy injured, besides 
much stock and cattle were killed. Forty houses, the 
railroad depot, and seven freight cars were destroyed in 
less than a minute's time. The funnel shaped cloud 
swooped down upon the village about twelve o'clock, its 
course being from the southwest to the northwest. The 
property loss was estimated at about $75,000.00. 



146 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



The work of rebuilding the town was begun within a 
few days after the terrible calamity, and Moundville is 
now among the most thrifty and populous towns in Hale 
county. 




MAIN STREET OF GREENSBORO 
Looking East from the Court House. 



Chapter XX. 

YELLOW FEVER. 

Once in its history of nearly a century, Greensboro has 
been visited by yellow fever. It was in the year 1897, 
and the disease was in the town several months before 
the physicians officially declared it to be such. There 
were possibly some fifty cases from the middle of August 
till the 18th of November, and about a dozen deaths from 
that cause during the period. The trains were taken off 
the railroad the latter part of October, and were not run 
for a week or two. Provisions became scarce, and the 
inhabitants, many of them, were on scant rations when 
traffic was resumed. Even before the existence of the 
fever was announced by Dr. Eiisha Young, there was a 
panic among the people, and many endeavored to leave for 
other points, but found that they were hemmed in on 
all sides, — all places having quarantined against Greens- 
boro. Many went to the country and remained until af- 
ter the disease was stamped out by the frost on the 18th 
day of November. Those who remained did what they 
could to alleviate the sufferings of the afflicted, attended 
the sick and buried the dead. Business was almost at a 
complete standstill during the months of October and 
November. 

Many excellent citizens died during that year, and it 
will long remain a memorable period in the history of the 
town. In January, J. P. Lieser, Dr. J. M. Pickett anq 
Mrs. Jane Buchanan died. In February, Miss Eliza 
Smaw and Charles A. Sheldon. In March, Alfred Drake 
and Wilkes Hanna. In April, Mrs. Katherine Randolph 



148 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

and J. Pick Moore (near Greensboro.) In May, Capt. 
James M. Jack. In June, Mrs. John M. Martin. In Au- 
gust, little Mary Quitman Seed. In September, J. C. Dew, 
In October, John H. Young, James W. McCrary, Syd John- 
son, little Elizabeth Ward, little Margaret Jones and Miss 
Ida Dorman. In November, Thomas Q. Smith, Shelby 
W. Chadwick, little Annie Parrish, little Lizzie Lawson, 
Dr. Thomas R. Ward, Mrs. Maria Williams and Frank 
Chadwick. In December, D. J. Castleman. 

The death rate among the negroes was also unusually 
high during 1897. 

A TRIPLE MURDER. 

While the occurrence to be noted does not belong, strict- 
ly speaking, to the history of Greensboro, yet the citizens 
of the town were so wrought up over the matter, and the 
parties concerned were so well known here, that it is in- 
serted as part of this volume. 

The night of December 1, 1897, was a cold, dark and 
dreary one. All day long a drizzly rain had fallen, and 
it was muddy and sloppy under foot, and the clouds were 
black and heavy overhead. It grew no better as night 
came on. 

Sometime after the sun had gone down, Phelan Craw- 
ford left Greensboro to spend the night with his father- 
in-law — M. C. Hall — who resided about ten miles north- 
east of the town. Just before he reached John A. Sing- 
ley's residence, — old Warren's store — eight miles out, the 
horses he was driving became violently frightened at some 
object on the roadside, and made a break to run. The 
darkness was so dense that Crawford could see nothing, 
but as his horses dashed up the hill in the blackness of 
the night, he thought he heard a deep groan coming from 
some one in pain or distress. It made his blood run cold — 
out there alone in the darkness and rain and stillness 
of the night. It was enough to make the stoutest heart 
quail with fear. He put whip to his already frightened 



TRIPLE MURDER 149 

horses, and was soon at the place of his destination. 

He was not long in telling his experience, and at once 
went out and gathered a number of the neighbors to- 
gether, who resolved to go back to the spot where the deep 
groan was heard. They plodded on through the night and 
mud, back to Singley's home on the roadside. Arriving 
there they found that all was quiet and still within. Not 
a sound could be heard save the dripping of the rain from 
the trees and the rush of the wind as it passed through 
the boughs on towards the south. They continued their 
journey down the road about fifty yards, and to their 
horror they saw in the dim light afforded by a lantern, 
a sight to make one's hair stand on end^a man groping 
about on his hands and knees, groaning at every breath. 
They called to him, — but no answer came. They approach- 
ed closer and saw that his hands and clothing were clot- 
ted with blood and besmeared with mud. They did not 
recognize the man at first, but a closer scrutiny disclosed 
the fact that it was John A. Singley, one of the most well- 
to-do and respected farmers of Hale county. They ask- 
ed him what had happened, but he made no reply — only 
pointing to his throat. Then the men discovered thai 
it was cut from ear to ear. They lifted him up and as- 
sisted him to the house. An attempt to open the front 
door disclosed the fact that it was locked. They hastily 
broke it in, and then the men fell back with exclamations 
of horror, — for indeed it was a ghastly sight that greeted 
their gaze. For a moment they stood paralyzed. There 
upon the floor lay Mrs. Singley in a pool of blood, her 
head crushed and her throat most cruelly cut, cold in 
death. But where was the little boy, the only child of the 
fond parents? The party searched further, and in an 
adjoining room they found the little twelve-year-old son, 
lying face downward, butchered in a most brutal manner. 

Who did it? What could it all mean? The men had no 
idea that Mr. Singley would be able to throw any light 
on the mystery, but as he lay on the bed on which he 



150 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 




The old stable at the top of the hill. Singley had crawled a hun- 
dred yards up the road, and was found near the gate to 
the left. 



had been placed, breathing hard send -g-asping for life, he 
beckoned them to come closer. They approached and 
began to ask him questions. They discovered that he was 
in possession of his mental faculties, and could make 
himself understood by signs and nods of the head. He 
was asked who had committed the crimes. He indicated 
the direction in which the guilty party resided by point- 
ing up the road from his home. They called the names of 
several persons, but at each he would shake his head. 
Finally someone asked if it was Bill Scott, — a negro who 
lived three miles above him — and he nodded his head af- 
firmatively several times most emphatically. 

By this time, the cold gray dawn of another bleak Dec- 
ember day began to show itself, and a large number of 
people had gathered — some from Greensboro, who had 
been notified soon after the discovery of Singley's condi- 
tion. 

The suffering, dying man told all he knew of the hor- 
rible crimes. The full particulars — which developed lat- 
er — are given as follows : 

Bill Scott, a negro to whom Singley had advanced 
money and goods for several years, came to the house 



TRIPLE MURDER 151 

some time after dark on the night of December 1st, and 
told Singley — who was sitting by the fire chatting with 
his wife and little son — that his (Scott's) mule had got- 
ten loose, and asked him to please come out and help him 
catch it. Having known Scott for quite a while, and 
not for a moment suspecting foul play, Singley at once 
lighted a torch and went with Scott down the road. When 
they had gone about a hundred and fifty yards from the 
house, near the foot of the hill, Scott suddenly turned 
upon Singley, and at one stroke felled him to the ground 
with a heavy stick. He then took Singley's knife from 
his pocket and cut the throat of the prostrate man from 
ear to ear — severing everything except the jugular vein. 
He left his victim for dead, and hastily went to Singley's 
home, cautiously opened the front door, and as Mrs. Sing- 
ley, who was sitting near sewing, looked up he struck 
her a blow on the head with the stick, knocking her from 
the chair, and then cut her throat, killing her instantly. 
The little son, who was sitting in the room with his 
mother, seeing her so horribly murdered, fled to the ad- 
joining room, followed by the fiend, who brained him 
with the same cudgel he had used on his father and 
mother. He then cut the little boy's throat. Having com- 
mitted these awful murders, he went to the bureau 
drawer, forced it open, and took therefrom seven hun- 
dred dollars — the object he had in view when he went to 
Singley's house. 

After securing the money, Scott locked the front door, 
went out the back way, threw the key away, and re- 
turned to where he had left Singley on the ground, and 
thinking to be doubly sure of his murderous work, he cut 
another gash in his throat, and then went to his own home 
three miles up the road, and remained there until early 
next morning. 

Singley lingered nearly all the next day after being so 
horribly butchered, but died when the evening shades 
began to gather. 



152 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 




THE JOHN SINGLEY HOME 
Where Mrs. Singley and son were mui'dered. 

It was a sad funeral cortege that left the once happy 
home of John A. Singley on Saturday, December 3rd. 
The hearses containing the coffins of father, mother and 
son, followed by a large number of friends and relatives, 
slowly wended their way over the hills and vales to the 
cemetery hard by the little Methodist church at Havana, 
and there, after a most touching funeral sermon, the re- 
mains of the three persons — an entire family — were de- 
posited in one grave. 

Officers and citizens were soon in pursuit of the mur- 
derer. His trail was followed all day Thursday and Fri- 
day. On Saturday he was captured by a negro man 
named Wes James at his (James') home, in Perry county, 
whither Scott had gone, and was driven to the house by 
hunger, little thinking that James had heard of the mur- 
der of the Singleys. In this he was mistaken, and soon 
after he entered the house, James leveled his shot gun 
on him and told him to consider himself under arrest. 
The prisoner was carried to the Perry county jail, and 
remained there for a short while, after which he was 
taken to Selma and lodged in the jail at that place — it be- 



POST OFFICE 153 

ing considered unsafe to bring him to Greensboro, so bit- 
ter was the feeling and so great was the excitement. 

In a day or two after his capture, Scott confessed his 
guilt — or at least a part of it — and told that the money 
he had taken from the bureau drawer had been divided 
with other parties, but that he had gotten half of it, which 
he had hidden at a place he designated. A search re- 
vealed the truth of the statement, for exactly where he 
said he had put the money, three hundred and fifty dol- 
lars were found. Before his death, Singley told that 
the amount he had in the drawer was seven hundred dol- 
lars. The other half of the money was never accounted 
for. 

Scott endeavored to implicate several other negroes in 
the horrible crime, but in every instance the accused par- 
ties were proven to have been elsewhere on the night 
the Singleys were killed. 

The clamor for a speedy trial of the brute was so per- 
sistent that Judge John Moore ordered a special term 
of the circuit court of Hale county to try Scott, which 
was held January 19, 1898. He was brought from the 
jail in Selma a week or so before the day set for his trial, 
and the author of these lines and Edwin S. Jack, Esq., 
were appointed by the Court to defend him, — he being fi- 
nancially unable to employ counsel. The writer recalls 
that he had several conversations with Scott relative to 
the case, and he would talk freely about the murder of 
Singley and his wife, but when asked "What about the 
little boy. Bill," he would exclaim : "Oh, for God's sake, 
don't talk about that child!" And then he would swear 
that he didn't kill him, — that another man did that; that 
he loved the boy, and the boy was fond of him. 

The day for trial arrived. The town was filled with 
people from far and near who wanted to get a glimpse of 
this human monster. Trouble was expected, and the 
Sherifl^" swore in a number of special deputies. But no 
disturbance occurred. The session of the court was ex- 



154 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

tremely orderly. The prisoner was arraigned, the indict- 
ment charging- him with the murders was read, and Scott 
entered a plea of guilty. After confessing his guilt, the 
jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first 
degree and fixed the punishment at death. The judge 
told Scott to stand up, and asked him if he had anything 
to say why the sentence of the Court should not be pro- 
nounced upon him, and he replied "Nothing." Then the 
Judge sentenced him to be hanged by the neck until he 
was dead. Scott received the judgment of the Court with- 
out a tremor, and was hurried back to jail by the Sheriff 
and his deputies, where he was kept closely guarded un- 
til February 25, 1898, when he was brought forth and 
hung. His body was cut down and buried in the pauper's 
field at the expense of the county, — his family refusing 
to have anything to do with it. 

And thus ended the blackest chapter in the history of 
this entire section, and the citizenship felt that the moral 
atmosphere was purer by the passing away of such a 
demon in human form. 



Chapter XXI. 

POSTOFFICE. 

The postoffice at Greensboro was established in Sep- 
tember, 1818, and during the ninety years of its existence 
there have been seventeen postmasters, as follows: 

Frederick Peck, John Street, Sr., John Street, Jr., Her- 
man Kohnen, Wm. M. Palmer, Al. Stollenwerck, J. C 
Simonds, Wm. Kelly, C. W. Hatch, Wm. H. Sanborn, Jo- 
seph Atkins, W. White Jones, James W. Locke, W. White 
Jones, G. W. Dugger, James M. Hobson, L. J. Lawson. 

It was not until the middle of 1869 that it was made a 
money order office, the first postoffice money order being 
issued on July 14th, 1869, to D. F. McCrary for the sum 
of $24.60. 

The first rural free delivery route from the Greensboro 
office was established in 1906. There are at present three 
routes radiating from this point. 

Truth Stranger Than Fiction. 

In the year 1872 there happened an incident in connec- 
tion with the Greensboro postoffice that fully demonstrates 
that "truth is stranger than fiction," and further, that cir- 
cumstantial evidence is very treacherous at times. The 
account of the incident about to be related was written 
by Judge Anthony W. Dillard, who held the first session 
of the Chancery Court of Hale county in Greensboro on 
the 11th day of July, 1869. Judge Dillard was a lawyer 
of ability, and was well known to the older citizens of 
Greensboro. The facts of the strange case given below 
were recalled to his mind by the death of Wm. H. San- 
born, which occurred at Village Springs, Ala., on Novem- 
ber 24th, 1898, from the effects of a wound received from 
the accidental discharge of a shot gun. His remains were 
brought to Greensboro and buried in the cemetery here. 



156 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Charles W. Hatch is also buried in the same cemetery, 
he having died some years before. 

The following is Chancellor Dillard's letter : 

Gainesville, Ala., Dec. 12, 1898. 
Dear Mr. Editor : I see you announce the death of Wm, 
H. Sanborn, former postmaster at Greensboro, Ala., and 
this induced me to forward to you a copy of the "San An- 
tonio Light," containing an article from my pen concern- 
ing Mr. Sanborn, which you might re-produce if you think 
proper. The United States District Attorney gave me 
the facts recited, and that is all I know. 

A. W. DILLARD. 

As it may prove interesting to your readers, I have 
concluded to narrate a case in which a registered letter, 
containing the sum of $1,950 in national bank notes, when 
it reached the party to whom it was addressed, in the 
city of New York, did not contain a single dollar. The 
seals on the letter were unbroken, and showed that the 
]etter had never been tampered with while enroute. 

The letter was registered in the postofRce at Greens- 
boro, Ala., by Charles W. Hatch, the postmaster, and sub- 
sequently was placed in a mail pouch and locked, in the 
presence of Wm. H. Sanborn, Hatch's clerk. 

Hatch kept the postofRce on one side of his store, in the 
front side of it. In 1872 he had Wm. H. Sanborn, a young 
man, aged about 20, employed as a clerk in his store and 
in the postoffice. 

Young Sanborn ate at his mother's, but slept at night 
in the rear end of the store of Hatch, and had access to 
the mails and the matter in the i)ostoffice, situated in the 
front part of the store. 

When the registered letter was delivered to its owner, 
in the city of New York, and found to contain no money 
at all, the owner immediately telegraphed the facts to the 
postmaster general at Washington and requested that a 
postal detective be sent to New York. This detective was 



POST OFFICE 157 

sent at once, and Hatch, the postmaster at Greensboro, 
Ala., was notified by the postofRce department of the loss 
of the money contained in the registered letter. 

Young Sanborn, on hearing of the matter from Hatch, 
made an affidavit to the effect that he was a clerk in the 
store of Hatch as well as a deputy postmaster; that the 
postofRce was in the store; that he saw Hatch count the 
money, place it in a registered envelope, seal it, put the 
same in the letter mail pouch and lock the mail pouch; 
that he knew of his own personal knowledge that Hatch 
did not after that re-open or touch the said mail pouch; 
that Hatch and himself left the store at sunset at the 
same time, and in company; that they walked together 
down the street a couple of hundred yards, to a point 
where they separated to go to their respective homes, 
which were on opposite sides of the town; that he (San- 
born) returned to the store immediately after getting his 
supper — slept in the store that night; that Hatch did not 
re-enter the store and the postoffice that night after they 
had quitted it in company, and that he delivered the mail 
pouches to the stage driver at the door at 3 o'clock, the 
morning following the placing of the registered letter in 
the letter pouch. 

This affidavit exonerated Hatch, the postmaster, but it 
clearly inculpated young Sanborn, when supplemented 
by another fact disclosed by the moneyless letter when 
it reached New York. After abstracting the money the 
thief had placed several old papers in the registered envel- 
ope to represent the money in bulk, anct among these 
was an almanac, on which was printed the name of a 
Greensboro druggist, who kept the patent medicine of the 
almanac make for sale. On the almanac was visible the 
name of the person in New York to whom the money in 
the registered letter had been sent, and this showed the 
almanac had been used as a blotting paper on the ad- 
dress on the registered letter. Of course, this had all 
been done in the postoffice at Greensboro, Ala., and, as 



158 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

a matter of course, the robbery of the registered letter 
had taken place in the Greensboro postoffice. That was 
the only place where the almanac could possibly have 
been employed as a blotter on the registered package and 
then placed inside the registered envelope prior to its be- 
ing sealed. 

Young Sanborn was arrested by the United States mar- 
shal, carried to Mobile, Ala., and in default of bail lodged 
in jail. At the first term thereafter of the United States 
District court an indictment was returned into court 
against Sanborn for robbing the registered package of 
$1,950. As he could not give bail, Sanborn remained in 
jail in Mobile. Hatch had been summoned as a witness 
before the grand jury and had appeared and testified. 

Sanborn had been in jail a year. On the Monday pre- 
ceding the day set for his trial. District Attorney South- 
worth told me that while at the dinner table at the Battle 
House he received a card requesting him to call at room 
twenty-three immediately after dinner as the writer de- 
sired to consult him on government business of an ur- 
gent character. 

"I called at room 23," said the district attorney to me, 
"and was received by a gentleman, who informed me that 
the name on his card was his traveling name ; that he was 
a detective in the postoflfice department and had been for 
many years, and handed me his commission properly exe- 
cuted and avouched by the proper official seal. He then 
said, 'I am on my way to Galveston, Texas, to investigate 
a crooked transaction in that postoffice in reference to a 
registered money package, but was ordered to stop here 
and see about the Greensboro robbery of the money in 
a registered package.' 

"I replied," said Mr. Southworth, "that it was entirely 
useless for him to do so, as the thief was in jail, would 
be tried and convicted two days later, and that the at- 
torneys for the thief had already admitted their client's 
case was hopeless, and had entreated him, in considera- 



POST OFFICE 159 

tion of the previous good character and youthfulness of 
the culprit, to consent to the infliction of the lowest pun- 
ishment." 

The Detective: "I am paid a yearly salary, sir, and 
it is my rule to obey the orders of my superiors to the 
letter, and I wish you to allow me to see and examine the 
papers in the case. By the by, who is the party in jail 
for the Greensboro robbery?" 

Southworth : "Young Sanborn, the deputy postmas- 
ter." 

Detective: "Can you send to my room the papers in 
the case, Mr. Southworth? As I am a detective it is my 
duty and my business to prevent my real character being 
discovered; hence I do not care to examine them in your 
office." 

"Certainly, I will send them to your room by one of the 
clerks in my office." 

Detective: "Please call here at my room, Mr. South- 
worth, after supper." 

Mr. Southworth sent the papers to the detective in room 
23, and called on him immediately on quitting the dining- 
room the same evening. 

"Mr. Southworth, you have the wrong man arraigned 
for the Greensboro robbery," said the detective. 

"Nonsense, sir; the proof is perfectly conclusive. The 
man's own voluntary affidavit proves him to be guilty," 
replied Southworth in a tone of pique and irritation. 

"Is Charles W. Hatch in the city," asked the detective. 

"Yes, sir ; he is one of the witnesses against Sanborn." 

"Mr. Southworth, I wish you to send a note to Mr. 
Hatch to call at your office at 11 o'clock tomorrow, and 
I wish you to ask him the questions written on this slip 
of paper. I will drop into your office a few minutes af- 
ter eleven as an entire stranger and tell you that I came 
from the north and am a stranger in the city, and ask 
if I can write a letter in your office. You will please place 
me at a desk or table where I can observe Hatch without 



160 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

his being aware of it, and contrive somehow to get your 
clerk out of your office." 

Southworth told me he followed out this plan to the 
letter; that at 11 o'clock the next day, Hatch entered 
his office, and he sent his clerk out to see a gentleman 
who lived some distance off, on a case in court. In a 
few minutes the detective entered and asked if he might 
write a letter and was placed at a table on one side of 
Hatch, but from where he could observe the countenance 
of Hatch. 

"I then commenced asking Hatch the written ques- 
tions," said Southworth, "telling him that, as Sanborn 
was to be tried the next day, I wished to fully understand 
what he (Hatch) could testify to on the trial. I had not 
asked him half the questions written on the slip of pa- 
per, when the detective arose and stepping in front of 
Hatch said to him: 

" 'Charles W. Hatch, you are a thief; you stole the $1,950 
out of the registered package, and yet you have the base- 
ness to come here and swear away the character and 
liberty of young Sanborn, whom you know to be inno- 
cent. You persuaded him to make the affidavit that 
exonerated you, but criminated him. You not only stole 
the $1,950 out of the registered package, but six weeks 
before you stole $830 out of another registered package. 
I am a secret agent in the postoffice department; here is 
my commission to prove my statement. I am occupying 
room 23 in the Battle House, and I tell you now, that un- 
less you appear at my room this evening with a confes- 
sion of your guilt in both cases, duly sworn to, and $2,780 
in cash, or your bill of exchange at thirty days accepted 
by a solvent business firm of this city, I will cause you 
to be arrested on both charges. It is a rule with the gov- 
ernment, where a thief makes good what he has stolen 
prior to the institution of criminal proceedings against 
him, not to prosecute him, and you have until 3 o'clock 
this evening to refund what you have stolen, but don't 



POST OFFICE 161 

fail to appear at my room, No. 23, at the hour named." 
"The detective," said Mr. Southworth, "turned on his 
heel and walked out of my office. I was utterly dum- 
founded at his remarks to Hatch, whose character and 
standing were first-class. And the other evidence against 
Sanborn was so conclusive ! Hatch sat there in his chair, 
silent and astounded. At last he said, 'Mr. Southworth, 
did you hear what that man said to me?' I nodded my 
head by way of reply. 'What must I do about it, Mr, 
Southworth?' asked Hatch. 

"I told him the charge against him was a calumny and 
that his character was his rock of defense, and to treat 
the threat of the detective with utter contempt and stern 
defiance. In a few moments Hatch withdrew and I saw 
him no more that day. At 3:30 o'clock, that evening, 
while I was dining in the Battle House, the detective pass- 
ed behind my chair and requested me to come to room 
23 when I left the dining room. 

"I repaired to room 23, impatient to learn the result of 
the affair, and the detective placed in my hand the sworn 
confession of Hatch acknowledging that he had stolen 
both the $830 and the $1,950 out of the registered envel- 
opes. In regard to the $1,950 theft Hatch said Sanborn 
and himself did leave the store together but that after 
he and Sanborn separated, he waited until Sanborn had 
gotten out of sight and returned to the postoffice, to 
which he also carried a key. Entering the postoffice, he 
unlocked the mail pouch, took out the registered package, 
broke it open and withdrew the $1,950, took another en- 
velope similar to the one first used, placed in the almanac 
and some other papers, sealed it, addressed it exactly as 
the first one was addressed, placed it in the mail pouch 
and then locked it. The detective then exhibited to me 
the $2,780 which Hatch had paid him. 'Now, Mr. South- 
worth, you must dismiss the case against Sanborn to- 
morrow, and state that circumstances have come to light 
which establish his innocence; that the real culprit has 



162^ HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

confessed his guilt, and refunded the money stolen by 
him. I have written the facts to the postoffice depart- 
ment, enclosing the resignation of Hatch, and I have 
urged and recommended that Sanborn be appointed post- 
master at Greensboro, as some reparation for his imipris- 
onment.' 

*'I was amazed at this denouement," said Southworth. 
"and I asked the detective what proof he had of the guilt 
of Hatch. He said he reached New York on the first train 
after having been notified the letter had been robbed, 
and that the tell-tale almanac had given him a clue as well 
as directed suspicion to Hatch himself. He discovered 
that Hatch carried on a mercantile business in Greens- 
boro, Ala., and was indebted to two merchants in the city 
of New York, so he went to see them in person and re- 
quested them in case Hatch should remit them money, 
either by express or registered letter to apprize him of 
it immediately and not to open it until he was present. 
I also went to the express ofllice and requested them to 
notify me should any money package from C. W. Hatch 
reach their office directed to A or B, and hold the package 
until I arrived. About a week after my arrival in New 
York to investigate the case, the Greensboro merchant 
who had remitted the $1,950, forwarded to his merchant 
creditor a list of the bills, together with their numbers, 
which rendered identification an easy matter. After a 
few weeks, two money packages shipped from Newberne; 
Ala., by C. W. Hatch to his two merchant creditors in 
New York, arrived and I was notified by the express com- 
pany; I went to the office and accompanied the express 
messenger who had to deliver them. When the two pack- 
ages were opened they contained the identical bills taken 
from the registered letter. The size and the numbers 
tallied with those on the list forwarded by the Greensboro 
merchant, made prior to the sending of the money by 
registered letter. The two express packages contained 
the sum of $830 over and above the $1,950, which led 



POST OFFICE 163 

me to conclude that Hatch had also abstracted that sum 
from a registered letter from Greensboro, that was mon- 
eyless when it reached its destination." 

Sanborn was appointed postmaster at Greensboro, Ala., 
and my recollection is he held the office on December 
23, 1882, the day on which I left Alabama. This case 
will deserve a place among the cause celebre, and would 
have occupied it, had it appeared in the reports of ad- 
judged cases. It suffices to make it highly probable, that 
innocent persons are so entangled in a web of circum- 
stances as to be sometimes convicted and punished for 
crimes which they did not commit. The fall of Hatch, 
after leading an honest life for years, is an occurrence 
witnessed daily. 

ANTHONY W. DILLARD. 



Chapter XXII. 

GOVERNORS OF ALABAMA. 

During its history, Greensboro has furnished the State 
of Alabama with three Governors. 

ISRAEL PICKENS, who was Governor from 1821 to 
1825, was a resident of the town. He was a member of 
the United States Senate at the time of his death, which 
occurred in 1827, on the island of Cuba. His remains 
were brought back to his old home, and are buried some 
three miles south of Greensboro. 




JOHN GAYLE. 



GOVERNORS OF ALABAMA 



165 



JOHN GAYLE, Governor from 1831 to 1835, was also 
a citizen of Greensboro. At the expiration of his term 
of ofRce he removed to Mobile and practiced law until 
his election to Congress in 1847. In 1849, he was ap- 
pointed as Federal District Judge in Alabama, which 
position he held until his death in 1858. 




THOMAS SEAY, 

Who was Governor of Alabama from 1886 to 1890. 

THOMAS SEAY, Governor from 1886 to 1890, was 
born and reared in the old town. At the expiration of 
his term of office he returned to Greensboro and reopened 
his law office, and practiced his profession until his death 
on March 30, 1896, at the age of 50 years. He was an 
able, upright, conscientious. Christian statesman, and 
was an honor to Alabama and to the town of his nativity. 



166 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

OTHER STATE OFFICIALS. 

HON. WILLIAM D. LEE filled the position of State 
Convict Inspector for some years just prior to his death, 
which occurred at his home in Greensboro on February 
25, 1899. Many needed reforms were inaugurated, and 
others projected, in the convict system of Alabama dur- 
ing his term of office, for which he is entitled to much 
credit. 

HON. WILEY C. TUNSTALL held the office of Asso- 
ciate Railroad Commissioner longer than any other man 
has ever occupied it. He went out of office in 1906, after 
filling the position for seventeen years. Upon return- 
ing to his home in Greensboro, he actively entered into 
the work of looking after his large landed interests in 
Hale county. He is a gentleman of great force of char- 
acter and strong common sense, and has left his imprint 
upon the political history of the State. He continues to 
manifest a lively interest in public affairs. 

PROMINENT LAWYERS. 

Greensboro has furnished some of the most eminent 
lawyers in Alabama. Among the number who formerly 
resided in the town may be mentioned John Erwin, 
William M. Murphy, John Gayle, Israel Pickens, James 
D. Webb, A. B. Pittman, Robert B. Waller, Augustus 
Benners, Henry Watson, Thomas Seay, Thomas R. Roul- 
hac, Augustus A. Coleman, James E. Webb, James J. 
Garrett and others. 




RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON. 



168 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Greensboro, 
Ala., Aug. 17th, 1870. He attended school at the South- 
ern University, and so brilliant was he that at the age 
of fourteen years he was able to pass successfully the 
competitive examination for entrance to the Naval Acad- 
emy at Annapolis, from which institution he graduated 
at the head of his class in 1889. This latter distinction 
entitled him to go to Paris, France, for a course in naval 
construction, of which opportunity he eagerly took ad- 
vantage. At the expiration of two years he returned 
to the United States and was engaged in the Naval Con- 
struction Department, and also at Annapolis as a pro- 
fessor, which position he was filling at the time of the 
breaking out of the war between this country and Spain 
in May, 1898. 

Lieutenant Hobson asked, and was granted the privi- 
lege of joining his pupils to the American squadron, and 
he and his class were detailed to the New York, Admiral 
Sampson's flagship. When the Admiral decided to block 
the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, he asked for plans from 
the various officers. Hobson's was adopted, and after 
selecting six non-commissioned officers, viz : George 
Charette, J. E. Murphy, Oscar Deigan, John Phillips, 
John Kelley and Daniel Montague, early in the morning 
of June 3rd the men went aboard the collier Merrimac, 
and made straight for the entrance to the harbor. Thq 
thrilling story of the sinking of the Merrimac is best 
told in Hobson's own words as related to a correspondent 
of the New York Herald the day he and his men were 
released from the Spanish prison, July 6, 1898. 

"We have been thirty-three days in a Spanish prison," 
said Lieutenant Hobson, "and the more I think about it, 
the more marvelous it seems that we are alive. 

"It was about 3 o'clock in the morning of June 3rd 
when the Merrimac entered the narrow channel and 



RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON 169 

steamed in under the guns of Morro Castle. The still- 
ness of death prevailed. It was so dark that we could 
scarcely see the land. We had planned to drop our star- 
board anchor at a certain point to the right of the chan- 
nel, reverse our engines and then swing the Merrimac 
around, sinking her directly across the channel. 

"This plan was adhered to, but circumstances ren- 
dered its execution impossible. When the Mierrimac 
poked her nose into the channel our trouble commenced. 
The deadly silence was broken by the wash of a small 
boat approaching from the shore. I made her out to be 
a picket boat. 

"She ran close under the stern of the Merrimac and 
fired several shots, from which it seemed to be three- 
pounder guns. The Merrimac's rudder was carried 
away by the fire. That is why the collier was not sunk 
across the channel. 

"We did not discover the loss of the rudder until 
Murphy cast anchor. We found that the Merrimac 
would not answer to her helm, and were compelled to 
make the best of the situation. 

"The run up the channel was very exciting. The picket 
boat had given the alarm, and in a moment the guns of 
the Vizcaya, the Oquendo and the shore batteries were 
turned upon us. Submarine mines and torpedoes were 
exploded all about us, adding to the excitement. The 
mines did no damage, although we could hear rumbling 
and could feel the ship tremble. 

"We were running without lights and only the dark- 
ness saved us from utter destruction. When the ship 
was at the desired position and we found that the rudder 
was gone, I called the men on deck. While they were 
launching the catamaran, I touched off the explosives. 

"At the same moment, two torpedoes, fired from the 
Reina Mercedes, struck the Merrimac amidship. I can- 
not say whether our own explosives or the Spanish tor- 



170 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

pedoes did the work, but the Merrimac was lifted out 
of the water and almost rent asunder. 

"As she settled down we scrambled overboard and 
cut away the catamaran. A great cheer went up from 
the forts and the warships as the hull of the collier 
foundered, the Spaniards thinking the Merrimac was 
an American warship. 

"We attempted to get out of the harbor on the cata- 
maran, but as the tide was running, daylight found us 
still struggling in the water. Then for the first time 
the Spaniards saw us and a boat from the Mercedes 
picked us up. It was then shortly after five o'clock and 
we had been in the water for more than an hour. 

"We were taken on board the Reina Mercedes and 
later we were sent to Moro Castle. In Moro we were 
confined in cells in the inner side of the fortress and 
were there the first day the fleet bombarded Moro. I 
could only hear the whistling of the shells and the noise 
they made when they struck, but I judged from the con- 
versation of the guards that the shells did considerable 
damage. 

"After the bombardment, Mr. Ramsden, the British 
Consul protested, and we were removed to the hospital. 
There I was separated from the other men of our crew 
and could see them only by special permission. Monta- 
gue and Kelley fell ill two weeks ago, suffering from 
malaria, and I was permitted to visit them twice. 

"Mr. Ramsden was very kind to us and demanded that 
Montague and Kelley be removed to better quarters in 
the hospital. This was done. 

"As for myself, there is little to say. The Spaniards 
were not disposed to do much for the comfort of any 
prisoners like us, but after our army had taken some 
of their men as prisoners, their treatment was better." 

In 1900, Lieutenant Hobson was advanced to the posi- 
tion of Captain in the navy. His eyesight was injured 
in service rendered in raising the sunken Spanish ves- 



RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON 171 

sels in Cuban waters, and also those in the harbor at 
Manila, and he asked to be placed on the retired list 
of the navy by Congress, which request was refused, 
and Captain Hobson tendered his resignation, with the 
parting message to the Navy Departrnent that whenever 
his country needed him he was ready to respond. 

In 1904, Captain Hobson made the race for Congress 
against John H. Bankhead in the Sixth Alabama Con- 
gressional District, but was unsuccessful. He again 
contested for the place in 1906, and was nominated and 
elected, and is at this writing filling the position. Cap- 
tain Hobson was married in New York on May 25th, 
1905, to Miss Griselda Houston Hull. 

The Captain's native town of Greensboro has watched., 
and will continue to watch, with pleasure his brilliant 
career. 



Chapter XXIII. 

OLDEST INHABITANTS. 

This chapter is devoted to short sketches of those citi- 
zens of Greensboro who have passed their three score 
and ten years. There are fifteen — nine ladies and six 
gentlemen. Their combined ages sum up a total of 1,184 
years — an average of nearly 80 years each. The oldest 
person is 97 years of age, and the youngest appearing 
in the list is 71. 

They are grand old people — forming a connecting link 
between the present generation and the one of the past — 
a generation that knew and loved the "Old South" when 
it was at the very zenith of its glory and power. 




MRS. M. D. LIGHTFOOT, 
jreensboro's Oldest Citizen. 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 173 

Mrs. M. D. Lightfoot. 

The oldest citizen, in point of years, is Mrs. Martha 
Diana Lightfoot, widow of Philip C. Lightfoot who died 
in 1866. Mrs. Lightfoot was born in Richmond, Va., 
on the 11th of May, 1811, and is therefore 97 years old. 
She was a daughter of Dr. Hermon Byrd Sneed, for 
many years a Baptist minister. She came to Greene 
county, Alabama, with her husband in 1841, and has 
resided in Greensboro and vicinity since that time. She 
has been a member of the Methodist church at this place 
for sixty-four years. She has been a member of the 
church since 1829, joining at Huntsville that year, when 
the Revs. A. L. P. Green and John Hannon were on that 
"circuit." 

Mrs. M. L. Nutting. 

Maria Louise Price was born in Newberry, S. C., 
October 21, 1818. She moved to Columbia, S. C., when 
seven years of age. In February, 1836, she was mar- 
ried to Samuel Nutting, and left immediately with him 
for Greensboro, Alabama, making the entire journey by 
stage coach. They arrived April 1, 1836, and since that 
time Mrs. Nutting has continued to live in the town. 
She has occupied the house on Main street in which 
she at present resides since 1841. In the younger years 
of her life she is said to have been regarded as one of 
the most beautiful women of this entire section. 

Mrs. Eliza A. Tunstall. 

Mrs. Eliza A. Tunstall is the daughter of the late 
Mr. and Mrs. Wiley J. Groom, who came from North 
Carolina in 1818, and settled near Mussle Shoals, Ala., 
where Mrs. Tunstall was born on March 4th, 1820. She 
was educated at Huntsville and LaGrange, and was at 
school at the former place when the stars fell in 1833., 
She came with her parents to Greensboro in 1836, where, 
two years after her arrival, she was married to Dr. 
James Tunstall of Virginia, and has since that date con- 



174 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

tinuously resided in the town. She now makes her home 
with her daughter, Mrs. William B. Inge in Greensboro. 
Mrs, Tunstall is the mother of three children, viz : Col. 
Wiley C. Tunstall and Mrs. Wm. B. Inge of Greensboro, 
and the late Dr. James Tunstall, who died some years 
ago. She also had the responsibility of rearing five sis- 
ters, the parents having died, leaving the little girls in 
her care, and they made their home with her until their 
marriage. The eldest sister married Mr. Eugene Hill of 
Greensboro; the second married Mr. Jack Chadwick of 
Texas ; the third. Judge Wm. Rodman of North Caro- 
lina; the fourth, Mr. Luther Hill of Montgomery, and 
the fifth, Capt. Wm. Selden of Faunsdale. 

Mrs. Tunstall joined the Presbyterian church in 1838, 
and has been a consistent member for the past seventy 
years. She is a woman of remarkably fine sense, and 
an honor to the community in which she has resided for 
so many years. 

Mrs. S. A. Kimhrougli. 

Mrs. Sarah Angeline Anderson Kimbrough was born 
on the 27th of August, 1820, near Mt. Zion Church in 
Greene (now Hale) county, Ala. In 1843, she was mar- 
ried to Col. J. M. P. Hanna, and there were three chil- 
dren born of this union, viz : Robert C, Irene H., and 
T. A. Hanna. Her daughter, Irene, married John E. 
Love, Esq., at one time a prominent attorney in Greens- 
boro, but who now resides in St. Louis, Mo. After the 
death of her first husband, the subject of this brief 
sketch married E. L. Kimbrough in 1859, and of this 
marriage there is only one child, Mr. Edward L. Kim- 
brough of St. Louis, Mo., who, with his wife, spends 
much of his time in Greensboro, — a gentleman noted for 
his fine business sense and splendid social qualities. 

Mrs. Kimbrough joined Concord Presbyterian church 
near Havana, over seventy-five years ago, and has re- 
mained a devout member of this denomination ever 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 175 

since. She has lived all of her long and useful life — 
extending now over a period of eighty-eight years — in 
Greensboro and vicinity. 

Mrs. Mary Johnson Hapvel. 

Mrs. Mary Johnson Happel is a daughter of Jesse 
Gibson and Susan Holman Gibson, and was born in 
Lebanon, Tenn., on November 14, 1826. She came with 
her parents to Greensboro in March, 1836, and lived in 
a log hut which was situated near where the residence 
of her daughter, Mrs. Wm. N. Knight now stands, which 
latter residence Mrs. Happel's father, Jesse Gibson, built 
in 1837. Mrs. Happel had a sister, Mrs. Susan Callie 
Yerby, who also resided nearly all her life in Greens- 
boro. Mrs. Yerby was born in Lebanon. Tenn., and died 
in May, 1904, at the age of 73 years. There were two 
Gibson boys, William and German, both of whom were 
Confederate soldiers, enlisting in Selma, where they re- 
sided at the time of the breaking out of the war. In a 
letter before us, written by Mrs. Happel, she says : 

"Greensboro improved considerably during the years 1836-37. 
Several new residences were built, and the town boasted of two 
Female Schools — one where the present Academy building is now 
located, and the other in a two story frame house situated on 
the corner where the court house now stands. This school was 
taught by a Mrs. Cottrell — grandma Ccttrell, as we lovingly called 
her. She was a widow of a Methodist preacher, and mother of 
two preachers, Dr. Joseph Cottrell and Rev. Hugh Blair Cottrell. 
At this time the Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists had 
weather-boarded churches, not lathed and plastered. The Epis- 
copalians had no church, but held services in the Academy. In 
1839, there was a great religious revival under the pastorate of 
the Rev. Mr. Boatright of the Methodist church, which was a 
great blessing to the town After this, each denomination felt the 
need of larger and better houses of worship, and proceeded to build 
them. The Methodists at this time were worshiping in a frame 
building located where the negro Methodist church stands in the 
rear of the Dr. Wai"d residence. The Methodists bought the lot 
on which their church is now located, and turned the old church 
over to the colored membei's." 



176 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Mrs, Happel was married in Greensboro in April, 1844, 
to Philip Happel, Rev. Thomas Capers officiating. She 
resided in the town until a few years ago, when she 
went to live with her son, Dr. Thomas J. Happel, in 
Trenton, Tenn. She is a woman of remarkably fine 
sense, strong character, and a devout member of the 
Methodist church, with which denomination she united 
in 1843 under the pastorate of Rev. T. W. Dorman. 

Mrs. M. W. Wadsivorth. 

Mrs. Mary Winifred Wadsworth was born at La- 
Grange, Alabama, November 22, 1829. Her parents, Dr. 
Alexander Sledge and Winifred Bryan Lane, moved to 
Alabama from North Carolina in 1822, and settled at 
LaGrange, in North Alabama. Dr. Sledge was one of 
the founders and a liberal supporter of the once famous 
LaGrange College. Early in 1830, Dr. Sledge moved 
with his family to Marengo county, and afterwards set- 
tled near Greensboro. In 1850, the subject of this sketch 
was married to Rev. Dr. Edward Wadsworth, who at 
the time, was president of LaGrange College — which Col- 
lege was burned by the Federal troops during the civil 
war. Dr. Wadsworth was a member of the first Faculty 
of the Southern University, and while the buildings were 
being erected he moved to Greensboro and served the 
Methodist church at this place for two years, that period 
being the limit a pastor was allowed to serve a church. 
While awaiting the completion of the building of the 
Southern University, Dr. Wadsworth served the Meth- 
odist church at Selma for two years, and in 1859 he re- 
turned to Greensboro and entered upon his duties as a 
member of the University Faculty, which position he 
held for a number of years. He died in 1883, at his 
home in Greensboro. Mrs. Wadsworth has been identi- 
fied with the town for the past half century, and no one 
was ever held in higher esteem. She has been a mem- 
ber of the Methodist church for sixty-two years. 

Her sisters, Mrs. Margaret J. Peterson and Mrs. Belle 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 



177 



Castleman, and her brothers, Messrs. Alexander and 
James Sledge are now residents of Greensboro. 




REV. RICHARD HOOKER COBBS, D. D., 

Who has for the past forty-eig-ht years been the Rector of St. 
Paul's Episcopal Church in Greensboro. 

Rev. R. H. Cobbs, D. D. 

The Rev. Dr. Richard Hooker Cobbs came to Greens- 
boro in 1860, and became rector of St. Paul's church, 
which position he held continuously for forty-seven 
years, resigning as rector in September, 1907, — but de- 
cided in March, 1908, to again accept the rectorship of 
this church. He was born in Montgomery, September 
7th, 1835, and is a son of Bishop Nicholas Hamner Cobbs, 
the first Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama. Dr. Cobbs 
graduated from the State University of Alabama in the 
class of 1855. In May, 1862, he married Fannie A. Avery, 
who is yet with him to cheer and bless his declining 



13 



178 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

years. Dr. -Cobbs is much beloved by the people he has 
served so long and faithfully. 

Mrs. Margaret C. Gidleij. 

Among the oldest people now residing in Greensboro 
is Mrs. Margaret Clemintine Gulley, the mother of Frank 
D. Gulley, one of the most highly respected citizens of 
the town. She has two other children living, to-wit: 
Walter Gulley and E. L. Gulley who reside in Tuscaloosa 
and Jackson, Miss., respectively. Mrs. Gulley's parents 
were Samuel Oliver Davidson and Nancy Catherine 
Lowry, Mrs. Davidson being the daughter of Mr. Lowry, 
among the early comers to Greensboro. Mrs. Gulley was; 
born near Salisbury, N. C., April 6th, 1827. At the 
age of thirteen years, she came to Greensboro and at- 
tended school at the Greensboro Female Academy, which 
was then in charge of Mr. Fay. She also went there af- 
ter Mr. Bestor was m.ade President. She has been a 
member of the church since 1843. On July 25, 1855, 
she was married to Bryant Gulley, by Rev. James C, 
Mitchell, Pastor of the Greensboro Presbyterian church. 
Mr. Gulley was at one time a prominent merchant at 
old Erie. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Gulley 
resided in Greensboro for six years, and then moved to 
Greene county, Alabama, where they resided until Mr. 
Gulley's death on December 24th, 1887, at the age of 
82 years. The next year Mrs. Gulley removed to Greens- 
boro where she has since lived with her son, Frank D. 
Gulley. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Ward 

Mrs. Elizabeth Ward was born in or near Greensboro, 
Alabama, in the year 1836. She is a daughter of the 
late Col. John H. Burton, who came to this section in 
1833 from Campbell county, Virginia, and settled 
about eight miles from Greensboro in the prai- 
ries. In 1850 he moved to Greensboro and purchased 



OLDEST INHABITAXTS 179 

the lot now owned by Madison Jones. He was a prom- 
inent citizen for many years. Mrs. Ward's mother was 
Miss Whitworth, a daughter of Jeremiah Whitworth, 
also a Virginian, who owned and resided on the (now). 
Hobbie place near Cedarville. There were four children 
of this marriage, J. L. Burton, of Crescent City, Fla. ; 
Dr. J. W. Burton and W. C. Burton (both deceased), and 
Elizabeth Burton. All three of the sons were Confed- 
erate soldiers. Miss Burton married the late Dr. Thomas 
R. Ward in 1858, who was for more than forty years a 
prominent physician in Greensboro. Dr. Ward was a 
North Carolinian by birth, and came to Greensboro when 
quite a young man. He first practiced medicine with 
the late Dr. F. M. Peterson, and afterwards alone until 
his death in 1897. He was among the brightest and 
most prominent Masons in the State, and for twenty- 
two years was Master of the Lodge at Greensboro. He 
officiated as Master of the Lodge at the laying of the 
corner stone of the Southern University in 1857. Dr. 
and Mrs. Ward had three children, to-wit: Dr. E. Bur- 
ton Ward, an honored physician in Selma, Col. Thomas R. 
Ward, a prosperous merchant of Greensboro, and Mrs. 
Bessie Norvell Ward Colebeck, who died in June, 1906, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Ward was educated in Lynchburg, Va. 
For more than half a century she has been a member 
of the Methodist church. She is much beloved by a large 
circle of friends. 

Hon. George Erivin. 

At the time this is written (1908) Hon. George Erwin 
is the oldest native-born citizen of Greensboro. He was 
born in the year 1834 in the then corporate limits of 
the town, and has resided here ever since. He is a son 
of the late John Erwin, the eminent jurist, who was 
among the earliest inhabitants of Greensboro. Mr. Er- 
win is a highly cultured gentleman, and represented Hale 
countv in the Legislature the session of 1884-85. He 



180 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

married a daughter of the late Col. Cadwalader Jones of 
North Carolina, in 1857 — they having celebrated their 
"golden wedding" in 1907. Though 74 years of age, Mr. 
Erwin's intellect is as clear and forceful as ever, and 
he lives among his books when not looking after his farm- 
ing interests. His memory of past events is remarkably 
good, and to him we are indebted for much valuable data 
contained in this volume. 

Mrs. M. C. Keady. 

Mrs. Martha Chambers Keady is a daughter of John 
and Katherine Chambers, and was born at Canonsburg, 
Pa., September 12, 1837. She was well educated in the 
schools of her native State. In August, 1869, she was 
married to Dr. W. G. Keady, who was born in Baltimore. 
Md., in 1833. He was a Confederate soldier for four years 
— first joining Watson's (Mississippi) Battery. At the 
siege of Vicksburg he lost an arm, and upon the fall of 
the town he was taken prisoner &nd sent to Camp Doug- 
lass, where he remained until his exchange. He then 
went to Georgia and joined the Confederate troops, and 
remained with them until the close of the war. After 
the cessation of hostilities he taught school at Macon. 
Ga., and other places. In 1871, Dr. Keady entered the 
Presbyterian ministry. His first charge was at Wil- 
liamsville, 111. He came to Greensboro from Kentucky 
in 1889, and served as pastor of the Presbyterian church 
at this place until his death in 1902. He was also for 
several years President of the Greensboro Female Acad- 
emy. Early in life, Mrs. Keady joined the church, and 
for many long years has been a consistent member of 
the Presbyterian denomination. She is a woman of 
remarkably fine intellect, and is much beloved by a large 
circle of friends. She has two children, Geo. K. Keady 
editor of The Beacon, with whom she resides, and Wm 
M. Keady, a prosperous druggist at Norcross, Ga. 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 181 

Rev. E. M. Turner. 

Rev. E. M. Turner, who has, for the past twenty years, 
been a citizen of Greensboro, was born in Walker county, 
Alabama, December 1, 1836. His father, Rev. John Tur- 
ner, was a Methodist minister, and was admitted to the 
Virginia conference in 1797. In the course of his min- 
istry he served Newbern, S. C, Caswell, N. C, and towns 
in Virginia. At the Conference of 1801 he located, on 
account of ill health and moved to Walker county, Ala., 
and in 1844 he moved to Greene county, where he re- 
sided until his death. His wife was a Miss Kimbrough 
of North Carolina. The subject of this sketch, Rev. E. 
M. Turner, was educated in the common schools in Greene 
county, Ala. He joined the church in 1845. When 8 
or 9 years of age, his father put him. in a printing office 
at Eutaw, Ala., The Whig, then conducted by Houston 
& Nunnalee, where he remained for quite a while. En- 
listed in the Confederate army in April, 1861, in a 
regiment formed by Hon. W. R. Smith. Went into camp 
of instruction at Tuscumbia, Ala. In September he was 
elected First Lieutenant of Company E, and on reaching 
Virginia was promoted to Captain of the Company. The 
Regimental number M^as the 26th Alabama, and upon 
the resignation of Smith, who was elected to the Con- 
federate Congress, E. A. O'Neal was made Colonel. Cap- 
tain Turner served under both Lee and Jackson. In 
1864, he was transferred to the Western army, and serv- 
ed under Johnston and Hood until the surrender at 
Greensboro, N. C, in 1865. He has a war record that 
few possess, but one, by conversing with him, would 
never know he served four years in the army, so modest 
is he with reference to matters pertaining strictly to 
himself. 

Capt. Turner joined the Alabama Conference of the 
Methodist church at Mobile in December, 1865, and was 
in the active ministry for many years. He is spending 



182 HISTORY OF GREEXSBORO. ALA. 

his declining years with his wife and daughter in his 
neat and modest home in Greensboro, among friends who 
honor him for his upright, Christian life, and his genial, 
sunny disposition. He has threa sons and one daughter : 
J. G. Turner of Greensboro, Ala., Dr. E. K. Turner of 
Oxford, Ga., Walter Turner of Atlanta, Ga., and Miss 
Clara Turner of Greensboro. 

The Stickneijs. 

Thomas F. Stickney is possibly the oldest male resi- 
dent of Greensboro. He was born April 14th, 1830, at 
the old homestead three miles west of town, now owned 
and occupied by his brother, Edward L. Stickney. His 
father, Joseph Blodgett Stickney, came from England 
in 1800, and located in North Carolina, where he mar- 
ried Harriet Grice. After living there for some time, 
he moved to this section, and located three miles west 
of the present town of Greensboro, and about the year 
1820, he purchased 840 acres of land from the 
famous General Lefebvre, who had come in possession 
of it under what is known as the French grant. Mr. 
Thomas Stickney relates that he had often heard his 
father speak of the noted Frenchman — that he was a 
frequent visitor to the Stickney home, and the descend- 
ants now have in their possession a number of memen- 
toes that were presented the elder Stickney by the Gen- 
eral. Lefebvre frequently visited the town of Greens- 
boro in its early days. Of this distinguished character, 
Pickett has the following in his History of Alabama : 

•'A colony of French soughl; Alabama as an asylum from Bour- 
bon persecution. The winter of 1816 and 1817 found many of these 
distinguished refugees in Philadelphia. An ordinance of Louis 
had forced them from France on account of their attachment to 
Napoleon, who was then an exile upon St. Helena. 

"Among those who were exiled was Count Lefebvre Desnoettes, 
who had been a cavalry officer under Bonaparte with the rank 
of lieutenant-general. Accompanying Napoleon in his march to 
Russia, he rode with him in his carriage in his disastrous i-e- 
treat over the snows of that country. He had served in Spain 
in many bloody wars, and was an active participant in the dread- 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 183 

ful battle of Sarragjossa. Vivacious, active and handsome in per- 
son and graceful in carriage, he was the most splendid rider of 
the age in which he lived. His imperial master was so much at- 
tached to him that when forced to abdicate the throne and about 
to depart for Elba and while addressing his weeping and sorrow- 
ing officers at Fontainbleau, said, 'I cannot take leave of you all, 
but will embrace General Desnoettes in behalf of you all.' He 
then pressed him to his bosom in the most affectionate manner. 
Napoleon frequently made him valuable presents, and influenced 
his cousin, the sister of the celebrated banker. La Fitte to es- 
pouse him. While he was at Demopolis, that lady made an attempt 
to join him in exile, but being shipwrecked on the coast of Eng- 
land, was forced to return to France. At length she negotiated 
with the French government for his return, and, through the in- 
fluence of her family, succeeded in obtaining permission for him 
to reside in Belgium. This induced Count Lefebvre in 1823, to 
leave Alabama in the ship Albion, which was wrecked upon the 
coast of Ireland, at Old Kinsale, in view of an immense number 
of people who were standing on the cliffs. The distinguished re- 
fugee was washed overboard, and the ocean became his grave." 

J. J. Cluis, mentioned elsewhere in this volume as 
having kept a hotel in Greensboro, came to this section 
with Count Lefebvre, and was a man of note under the 
Napoleonic rule in France. 

Joseph B. Stickney was the father of eleven children, 
as follows: Rev. William A. Stickney, Frederick G., 
Joseph B., Edward L., Thomas F., John, and Richard H. 
Stickney, the latter being at the time of his death in 
February, 1904, among the most prosperous and highly 
respected citizens of Greensboro. The daughters were: 
Mrs. Eliza Street, Mrs. Harriet J. Charles, Mrs. Olivia 
Morgan, and Miss Mary Stickney, all deceased. 

Mr. Thomas F. Stickney says that soon after his father 
settled near Greensboro others came from North Caro- 
lina and located to the w^est of the present town, — among 
the number. Off a Shivers, Stith Evans, Benjamin Evans, 
the Morrisons and the Arnolds. 

William A. Avery. 

The subject of this sketch, William A. Avery, was born 

four miles north of Greensboro on March 1, 1832. His 

father was William Ingram Avery, who came from 

North Carolina in 1818, and located near the present 



184 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

town of Greensboro. He built the first frame house 
ever erected in the town in 1818, for Peck, Brewer and 
Bates. It was located on the site on which is now situated 
the two story brick building occupied now by George 
Findlay and The Watchman office. William A. Avery 
has resided all his life in the territory of what is now 
Hale county. For the past twenty years he has lived 
with his family in Greensboro. In 1855 he married Miss 
Sarah Elizabeth Walton, daughter of the late Joseph 
Walton, who is remembered by many of the people as 
among the best and most highly respected citizens of 
Hale county. Mr, Avery served for several years dur- 
ing the war between the States in the Confederate ar- 
senal at Selma, Ala., engaged in the work of making gun 
carriages. He was so employed when Wilson's Raiders 
captured the city. Mr. Avery has been a member of the 
Methodist church for the past 45 years. He has always 
enjoyed the reputation of being a good citizen and a 
good neighbor. 

TJiomas J. Khmuird. 

Thomas J. Kinnaird is among the oldest citizens of 
this vicinity. He has resided in Greensboro for a num- 
ber of years past. He is the son of James A. Kinnaird 
and Mary McMaster Kinnaird. The father came to this 
county when quite a young man from North Carolina. 
His mother was a native of Greene county, Alabama. 
They resided at Green Springs, near Havana, Ala., at 
which place Thomas J. Kinnaird was born April 30th, 
1830, and he has lived in what is now Hale county all 
his life. In 1855 he married Miss Keziah Lavender of 
Newbern, Ala. In 1862 Mr. Kinnaird enlisted in the Con- 
federate army, and was a member of Company C, 36th 
Alabama Regiment — Captain Wemyss' company — and 
was in the Tennessee army and saw actual service 
from Chickamauga to Spanish Fort. He served for four 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 185 

years, and was in many battles, but did not receive a 
single wound. 

Mr. Kinnaird has been a member of the Baptist church 
for the past fifty years, having joined Bethsaida church 
in 1858. He is one of the original members of the pres- 
ent Greensboro Baptist church, being present at the 
organization in February, 1894. He has always enjoyed 
the respect and confidence of the people among whom 
he has lived so long. 

John L. Croom. 

One of the oldest living former residents of Greens- 
boro is Mr. John L. Croom, who has kindly furnished 
the author valuable information for this volume. He 
was born at LaGrange, Ala., Nov. 26, 1826, and came 
with his father, Wiley J. Croom, to Greensboro in 1834, 
and resided here until 1850, when he moved to Mata- 
gordo, Texas, and for the past fifty-eight years has been 
a resident of Matagordo and Wharton counties. He 
served for ten years as County and District Clerk of 
Matagordo, and since the expiration of his term of office 
he has been engaged in the real estate business. He was 
orderly sergeant in Company A — Andrew L. Pickens, 
Captain, John R. Coffee, Colonel — First Regiment Ala- 
bama Volunteers in the Mexican War, and was honorably 
discharged from service, on account of disability to 
perform military duty, in July, 1846. In November of 
the same year he married Miss Ellen R. Davis, at Mata- 
gordo, Texas, a lady who was born and reared at Frank- 
lin, Tenn. She died in Wharton, Texas, in October, 1901. 
There were two children from this union, Judge W. J. 
Croom, and Mrs. Rosa F. McCamly, widow of the late 
Fred C. McCamly, a prominent lawyer of Texas. Mr. 
Croom is a brother of Mrs. Eliza A. Tunstall of Greens- 
boro, and an uncle of Col. Wiley C. Tunstall of this 
place. He is spending the evening of his life happily 



186 HISTORY OF GREEXSBORO, ALA. 

with his children, grand children and great grand chil- 
dren in Wharton, Texas. 

Mr. Croom furnishes the following list of old citizens 
of Greensboro whom he remembers as residing here dur- 
ing his early residence in the town : 

Gen. Patrick May, soldier of the war of 1812 ; John 
May, cotton planter; Charles or Robert Fortune, dealer 
in stock, and also kept a stage stand on his place at the 
forks of the road south of the depot; James McDonald, 
cotton planter ; Dr. McCann ; Shelby Chadwick, mer- 
chant; I. N. Chadwick, merchant; Jack Shackelford, 
merchant; V. Boardman, jeweler; Sam Cowin, hotel 
keeper; John G. Harvey, editor Alabama Beacon; Mat- 
thew Hobson, planter — father of Mrs. W. C. Tunstall 
and Mrs. W. D. Lee; A. Benners, Edward Benners, Jas. 
D. Webb, Wm. P. Webb, John Erwin, Wm. M. Murphy, 
Rob't. B. Waller, Henry Watson, Rob't D. Huckabee, law- 
yers; Samuel Webb, merchant; Albert Hendon, mer- 
chant; Thomas M. Johnston, merchant and planter; Maj. 
Bell, soldier of war of 1812; his sons were John, Bush- 
rod, William and Frank Bell; Frederick Peck, merchant, 
and first postmaster; D. P. Stockton; Joseph and Jesse 
Seligman, the latter became a noted banker in New York ; 
A. C. Horton, who was the first Lt. Governor of Texas; 
Dr. Sydney Vaughan; James Levi Tunstall, Thomas 
Webb, Wm. T. Hendon, P. W. Kittrell, Wm. Street, all 
physicians; one son of Dr. Kittrell and another of Dr. 
Street became district judges in Texas; Rev. D. P. Bes- 
tor; Rev. Sydenham Witherspoon; Rev. John DuBois, 
first manufacturer of cotton gins; Samuel Duncan, Ben- 
jamin and Geo. W. Briggs; Andrew J. Briggs, Samuel G, 
Hardaway, sheriff; Jos. Atkins, druggist; A. Stollen- 
werck, druggist; A. M. Dorman, merchant; Col. Isaac 
Croom, planter, and president of State Agricultural So- 
ciety; Jessie H. Croom, planter; Dr. Stephen Davis; Dr. 
Wm. T. Barnum ; Calvin Norris, planter ; Dr. Wm. Jones ; 
Samuel Boykin; Nat M. Murphy, lawyer; Mr. Murray, 



OLDEST INHABITANTS 187 

first fashionable tailor ; Mrs. Pasteur, Mrs. Dickson, Mrs 
Fowler, among the first settlers of Greensboro ; Dr. R. U. 
DuBois, dentist; Samuel DuBois; David Barckley; Jo- 
seph Simmons, dry goods clerk and dancing master; Dr. 
Richard Groom ; Mr. Reynolds, first tinner in the town ; 
Dr. Jos. Reynolds, his son ; B. F. Avery, ancestor of B. 
F. Avery & Sons of Louisville, Ky., celebrated for making 
Avery's plows; Thos. Archer, a great wit and ladies' 
man; Rev. Thos. Ghilton, grandfather of ex-Gongress- 
man Horace Ghilton of Texas; Dr. Rufus Haywood, an 
eminent surgeon ; Wm. P. Eaton, graduate of Yale col- 
lege, school teacher; Mr. Whelan, tailor and only Roman 
Catholic in Greensboro in the early days. 




Chapter XXIV. 

CHAPTER OF MISCELLANEOUS. 

Mayors. 

Diligent search has failed to disclose a satisfactory list 
of the names of those who have served as Mayor of 
Greensboro, but we give all that could be found, as fol- 
lows : John Clement, Charles Whelan, James J. Garrett, 
James M. Hobson, Thomas R. Roulhac, Charles E. Wal- 
ler, L. J, Lawson, Amasa M. Dorman, W. W. Powers, 
E. B. Randolph, Robert F. Otts, Wm. E. W. Yerby, N. L. 
Castleman, John G. Apsey, Jr. 

Marslials. 

The office of marshal was not created until 1859, and 
since that time the following have served in that capacity : 
Jno. B. Williams, George W. Briggs, Wm. A. Bell, Wm. 
Roberts, J. D. Hamilton, F. H. Johnson, W. P. Johnson, 
A. B. Mackey, W. E. Torbett, J. W. Otts, John Erwin. 

Night Watchmen. 

It seems that it has been only of recent years that 
Greensboro realized the importance of having a night 
watchman, for so far as the records of the old days show, 
no such office existed — that is to say as far back as forty 
years ago. Those who have held this office are: Ed. 
Gayle, M. C. Knight, C. C. Wilkerson, Reuben Johnson, 
D. A. Seale, Rufus DuBois, Walter Seale, Wm. Stokes. 

On the night of October 16, 1874, two Greensboro citi- 
zens — John H. Atkins and J. T. Walker — became engaged 
in a personal difficulty on the sidewalk between the de- 
Graffenried & Evins law office and Dr. Carson's front 



MISCELLANEOUS 



189 



gate, and opened fire upon each other. The night watch- 
man at that time was M. C. Knight, who was standing 
across the street. He rushed in between the two men, 
and a ball from one of the weapons struck him and killed 
him almost instantly. It was never definitely known 
from which of the two pistols the fatal shot was fired. 
Both the men were tried and acquitted. Knight was a 
comparative stranger in Greensboro, coming, he stated 
upon his arrival here, from McMinnville, Tenn, Very 
little was ever learned about who he was, or why he 
came to this place. 




FRANCIS MARION PETERSON, M. D., 

Who was a distinguished physician and honored citizen of Greens- 
boro from 1846 until his death in 1898. 



Physicians. 

Greensboro has always been blessed with the best med- 
ical skill in the person of her physicians. Among those 
who formerly practiced their profession here may be 



190 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

mentioned Francis Marion Peterson, Wm. Jones, John 
H. Parrish, T. C. Osborne, Charles Whelan, Beverlj'; 
Griggs, James J. Peterson, Elisha Young, Joseph M. 
Pickett, Thomas R. Ward, David J. Castleman. 

Population. 

The population of Greensboro in 1860 was (about) 
1600; in 1870 it was 1760; in 1880, 1834; in 1890, 1759; 
in 1900, 2416. These figures (except for 1860) were ob- 
tained from the Census Bureau in Washington, D. C. 

Burning of the Greene County Court House. 

So intimately was Eutaw and Greensboro associated 
in the days before Hale was made a county, that a note 
of the fact that the court house at Eutaw was destroyed 
by fire on March 20th, 1868, will not be out of place in 
these pages. From the Alabama Beacon of March 28, 
1868, the following is taken : 

"THE COURT HOUSE AT EUTAW DESTROYED BY FIRE 

— Greene county has sustained a heavy loss. The Court House at 
Eutaw was destroyed by fire on Friday morning of last weel<;, with 
all the records, papers etc., in the office of the Circuit Clerk, in 
which the fire originated. The records and papei's in the office 
of the Sheriff", Register in Chancery and County Treasurer were 
all saved. The Eutaw Court House was one of the most commodi- 
ous and costly in the State. Its destruction at any time would 
have been a heavy loss to the county, but at this junctui-e, when 
most people find it extremely difficult to support their families 
and nay their taxes, it will prove a most serious calamity, es- 
pecially so, in view of the loss of the valuable records and papers. 
The circumstances connected with the origin of the fire, as we 
have heard them, leave no room for doubt as to its having been 
the work of an incendiary. They also create the presumption that 
the deed was done for the purpose of destroying certain recoi'ds 
or papers in the Clei'k's office." 

Ribbon Cane. 

The first genuine ribbon (or sugar) cane ever success- 
fully planted in Hale county was cultivated seven miles 
Northeast of Greensboro by Rev. A. R. Ramey. In 1873 
he brought fifty stalks from Citronelle, Ala., and planted 



MISCELLANEOUS 191 

it. The next year he had a quantity of stalks to sell to 
his neighbors, and from this small beginning the molas- 
ses crop of the farmers, especially of Northeast, West 
and North Hale, has grown to be quite a profitable one, 
— the Greensboro market being supplied to a large ex- 
tent with the home-grown article. 

First Appearance of English Sparirnu. 

The English sparrow, that destructive and troublesome 
little pest, is comparatively a lecent conier to Greens- 
boro. The first note of its appearance was in November, 
1885, and the little birds were viewed with interest and 
curiosity by the people. Since then the tribe has in- 
creased, and is almost as the sands of the seashore for 
multitude. 

Cfjfton Worms. 

For many years prior to 1890, the cotton worms would 
annually strip the leaves from the cotton plant, but that 
year, for the first time within the memory of "the oldest 
inhabitant," they failed to do any damage to the cotton 
plant in this section, nor have the pests returned in any 
considerable numbers since then. 

Tlie Stars and Stripes. 

The first United States flag that was unfurled on a 
building in Greensboro since 1861 was in May, 1898, and 
was floated from Hamilton Hall, the boarding annex 
of the Southern University, and another from the 
Greensboro Hotel. This was done in honor of the vic- 
tory of the American navy under Admiral Dewey over 
the Spanish fleet in the harbor of Manila. Since that 
tim^e the Stars and Stripes have not been strangers to 
the eyes of the inhabitants of Greensboro. 

Practical Joke of the Old Days. 

Among the earliest watchmakers and jewelers of Greens- 
boro was Thomas Rainey, an Irishman, fresh from the 



192 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

old country. He was always ready with his wit and also 
ready at all times for a drink. Contemporary with him, 
although in a different line of business, was William 
Scarff, the undertaker. Rainey and Scarff were the best 
of friends, and spent many hours talking together. One 
day Rainey, when about half drunk, told some friends 
that he wanted to play a joke on his friend Scarff, and 
asked them to come in and arrange him in his bed as a 
dead man. The friends complied and spread a sheet over 
Rainey, who told them to go tell Scarff that Rainey was 
dead, and to come up and take his measure for a coffin. 
(In those days the undertaker always took the measure 
of a corpse before bringing the casket.) The friends went 
to Scarff and sadly told him of Rainey's demise, and he 
expressed much sorrow over the news. He went at once 
to the room of the supposed dead man, and after again, 
with tears in his eyes, bemoaning the death of his old 
comrade, he began to remove the sheet. When he had 
taken it from the body, and was in the act of removing 
his shoes, Rainey very gently said : "Be careful, friend 
Scarff, and don't hurt my corns." Scarff made the air 
blue for a while with his denunciations of the "low down 
trick" that had been played on him. 

As stated above, Rainey was among the early jewelers 
of the town. He purchased, forty or m.ore years ago, 
from Volney Boardman, whom he succeeded in the jew- 
eler's business, the big clock which is now in Dr. Jay's 
drug store. For more than half a century this clock 
regulated the time for the citizens of Greensboro and 
surrounding country. Charles Jones gave it to Dr. Jay 
when he went out of the jeweler's business ni 1895. The 
old clock is still ticking away, and keeps the time as ac- 
curately as it did when first installed. 

Local Telephone. 

In 1895, T. B. Fitzpatrick was granted a franchise for 
a period of twenty-five years to establish and operate a 



MISCELLANEOUS 193 

telephone system in Greensboro. He at once went to 
work on the line, but died in September of that year, 
and his wife, Mrs. Lucy Fitzpatrick, carried the work to 
completion. On the 15th of April, 1896, the local tele- 
phone commenced business and was conducted by Mrs. 
Fitzpatrick until 1907, when she sold the property to the 
Southern Bell Company, who now operate it. 

Long Distance Teleplwne. 

The Southern Bell Telephone Company was granted the 
privilege of entering the town by the Mayor and Council 
in the year 1895. It did only a "long distance" business 
in Greensboro until 1907, when the company purchased 
the local telephone system from Mrs. Fitzpatrick, since 
which time it has had exclusive charge of both the long 
distance and the local telephone service. 

Authors. 

Greensboro has produced authors of note. Of the num- 
ber: Dr. J. M. P. Otts, who wrote "The Fifth Gospel, 
or the Land Where Jesus Lived," "At Mother's Knee," 
"Unanswered Questions," "The Gospel in Pagan Relig- 
ions," "Laconisms," "A Dream About My School Days." 

Judge A. A. Coleman, who has written many poems, 
which are published in a volume entitled "Poets of 
America." 

Miss Martha Young, has written a book entitled "Bes- 
sie Bell," also "Plantation Songs." 

Mrs. Martha Gielow, "Old Plantation Days," "Mam- 
my's Reminiscences," and others. 

James J. Garrett, "The Forty-fourth Alabama Regi- 
ment." 

Rev. Henry Trawick, "The Modern Revival." 

Miss Anne Hobson, "In Old Alabama." 

Dr. J. T. Littleton, "History of Pocahontas." 

Captain R. P. Hobson, "Sinking of the Merrimac," 
"Buck Jones of Annapolis." 



194 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

Prof. D. P. Christenberry, "History of the Southern 
University." 

Plant ej-.'i. 

Greensboro has been the home of many prominent 
planters and large land owners. Of the rramoer may be 
mentioned : John Nelson, Allen C. Jones, Wm. R. Smaw, 
D. F. McCrary, J. W. McCrary, J. H. Y. Webb, John W. 
Walton, Gideon Nelson, Wiley Groom, Ivey F. Lewis, 
Robert W. Withers, Wm. B. Inge, Sr., Dr. Wm. Jones, 
Thomas M. Johnston, S. D. Owens, E. T. Pasteur, Reuben 
Seay, Henry Watson, R. H. McFadden, Sr., S. S. Lati- 
mer, W. W. Powers, Edward Bi^yol, John Erwin, Thos. 
Seay, Dr. Drake and others. All of the above named 
gentlemen are dead. 

Nut Gras.s. 

Probably there are those of the present generation who 
think that the cocoa, or nut grass, has always beeen in 
Greensboro and vicinity, but such is not the fact. The 
author has it on the authority of Hon. Charles E. Waller, 
who knows the history of the grass in this section, that 
the first appearance of cocoa was in the yard of Dr. 
Richard Garter Randolph, two miiles east of Greensboro. 
Mrs. Randolph had one of the largest and most beautiful 
flower yards ever in this vicinity, and she would fre- 
quently order plants and shrubbery from New Orleans, 
and more than half a century ago there came in these 
plants or shrubbery either the seed or the nuts of the 
cocoa. When the grass first made its appearance in the 
Randolph yard no one knew what it was, and no attempt 
was made to eradicate it, and from this beginning it has 
spread, in various ways, over the entire section. 

It is worthy of note that Dr. Randolph was a close rela- 
tive to the famous "John Randolph of Roanoke," and 
was, before he moved to Greensboro, a surgeon in the 
United States navy. He was quite wealthy, and owned 
thousands of acres of land east of the corporate limits 



MISCELLANEOUS 195 

of the town. In the midst of these broad acres he erected 
a palatial home, which he called "Oakleigh" and furnish- 
ed it most elegantly. He and his wife entertained lavish- 
ly, and many brilliant parties were given beneath their 
hospitable roof. The front yard was a scene of beauty, 
filled with flowers and shrubbery of every description, 
and adorned here and there with statues of the finest 
Italian marble. The Doctor and his wife are buried in 
the family graveyard hard by the place where once stood 
their elegant home. 

In the after j^ears the house was burned, — the brick 
were moved away, and the property passed into other 
hands, and now a modest cottage adorns the site where 
once stood the mansion of the old days. 

Dr. Randolph was the father of Major R. C. Randolph, 
who married Sallie Julia Pickett, daughter of Albert J. 
Pickett, the historian. His other children were Mrs. R. 
I. Hill, Mrs. J. W. Tayloe and Mrs. Rittenhouse Moore. 

Cherted Street. 

For a long number of years, during the winter season, 
the Main street of Greensboro from the cemetery to the 
depot was almost as bad as the average country road. 
Teams were frequently stalled in the mud — particularly 
on the small hill just before getting to the depot, and 
also in front of the Lightfoot place. In the business por- 
tion of the town in rainy weather, the street would get 
in an almost impassable condition, and the odors eminat- 
ing from the mud were very offensive. 

In 1900, this was remedied by the Mayor and Council 
making a contract to have the street cherted from the 
depot to the cemetery. G. M. Burkhalter & Co., of Bir- 
mingham, were the contractors, and the work cost a little 
over ^'10,000. The town, in July, 1900, issued $10,000 
worth of bonds to pay for it. The indebtedness bears 6 
per cent, interest, payable semi-annually. Said bonds 
specify that on July 1st, 1921, one thousand dollars of 



196 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 

the principal is to be paid, and one thousand dollars each 
succeeding July until the entire debt is liquidated. 

Cotton on Mill. 

The Greensboro Cotton Oil Mill was established near 
the depot in 1902, and was exempted from taxation for 
a period of ten years by the town authorities in order 
to induce the promoters to locate it here. It is owned by 
local capitalists, and has prospered. 

Telegraph Lines. 

In 1869, the citizens of Greensboro donated a thousand 
dollars to induce the Western Union Telegraph Company 
to extend its line from Marion to this place. The first 
office was opened in Greensboro during that year. It 
was through the untiring efforts of Henry Beck, Al Stoll- 
enwerck and A. S. Jeffries that the line was brought 
here. 

Twenty-four years after this, the citizens do not ap- 
pear to have been so anxious for a telegraph line as for- 
merly, for in 1893, the Postal Company humbly petition- 
ed the Mayor and Council to allow it to enter the town 
and maintain an office, — which petition was granted, and 
the Postal opened for business in Greensboro in 1893. 

Public Halls. 

By public halls is meant a place where public meetings 
were held. The very first that existed in Greensboro was 
somewhere about the year 1834, and was located on the 
Northeast corner of the lot of Col. W. C. Tunstall, almost 
opposite the residence of Judge W. C. Christian on Main 
street. It was a one-story frame structure, and was 
known as the "Theatre Building," from the fact that the 
traveling troupes would have their shows therein. 

The next public hall of which there is any record was 
in the upper story of a frame building that was located 



MISCELLANEOUS 197 

where the Steinhart store now stands on Main street. It 
was known as Lyceum Hall. 

After this place fell into disuse, Washington Hall came 
into prominence, and for some years the public speakings 
and gatherings were held in this place. 

Franklin Hall was the next in order, and is still stand- 
ing. It was the room above the stores in the block in 
which D, W. Taylor's store is at present located. Be- 
sides other public uses to which it was put, the military 
companies used it as a drilling place. 

After Amasa M. Dorman built the Dorman block on 
the South side of Main street and fitted up "Dorman's 
Hall," the Franklin Hall ceased to be used as a place for 
public gatherings. At the time it was erected, "Dorman's 
Hall," with its wooden benches, and its raised stage, was 
accounted the finest public hall in this section. Many stir- 
ring scenes were enacted within the compass of its walls, 
— the most exciting, perhaps, being in the latter part of 
1860, when a discussion of the question was had as to 
whether Alabama should secede from the Union or not. 
Hot and angry words were passed between those who 
difl'ered on the subject and friendships of a lifetime were 
shattered. And it was in this place that the military 
company, known as "The Greensboro Guards," was or- 
ganized and drilled before starting for the war. Here 
the strolling minstrels would come and amuse the people 
with their shows, and it was here that the amateurs of 
the town would display their talent as actors and actress- 
es. The old hall served its day and generation well, and 
stood until 1903, when it was torn away to make room 
for the present commodious store building. 

In 1897, J. A. Blunt erected a splendid public hall above 
his stores on the South side of Main street. The build- 
ings were burned in November, 1902. In 1903 Mr. Blunt 
rebuilt the burned district, and fitted up the present beau- 
tiful Opera House. 



198 



HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



The Greensboro Dramatic Association. 

Nearly forty years ago — to 1)e exact, in 1869 — there 
existed in Greensboro an organization known as "The 
Greensboro Dramatic Association," the object of which 
was "for the purpose of aiding the destitute of Greens- 
boro and vicinity." The Association gave dramatic exhi- 
bitions once a month, and the proceeds were devoted to 
charitable purposes. The first play enacted was entitled 
"Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady," and was a great 
success. There were no lady members of the company, 
and the characters in the play that required ladies were 
taken by the men, who would dress in feminine attire. 
The Dramatic Association accomplished much good dur- 
ing its career. The following were the members, as gath- 
ered from the minutes : 

L. J. Lawson, S. C. Carson, Henry Boardman, Alex 
H. Williams, W. P. Johnson, Henry H. Hooton, H. Hum- 
phries, Robert H. Jackson, John A. Peterson, John M. 
Gayle, Stawell W. Gillespie, Robert B. Monette, Charles 
T. Briggs, Charles E. Waller, Porter K. Carson, L. M, 
Osborn, Ed. Nutting and John Atkins. Dr. Simonds was 
manager of the Company. 




*^^ 



MISCELLANEO US 



199 




AN OLD FASHION SPINNING WHEEL. 



A Relic of the Old Days. 

The above is a good representation of the old spinning 
wheel that was so common in the South in Colonial times, 
and in the days before the Civil War. It, together with 
the ponderous old loom, was the forerunner of the mod- 
ern cotton factory. Almost every family was supplied 
with a ''Spinning Jenny" and a loom before the advent of 
cotton and yarn mills. The Spinning Jenny was invented 
by James Hargreaves in 1767, and for nearly a hundred 
years its use was continued — improvements upon the 
original being but slowly made. 

It will not be a great many years before these old relics 
will be entirely out of existence, — hence it is that the 
picture of the one which has been in possession of the 
writer's ancestors for nearly sixty years is given above. 



200 HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALA. 



CONCLUSION. 

Our task is finished. It is with a feeling of sadness 
rather than of joy that the pen is laid aside, because it 
has been purely a labor of love that has engaged our at- 
tention for some years past in the preparation of these 
pages. The work had grown to be fascinating, and really 
a part of existence. 

It is our earnest hope that the future historian may de- 
rive as much pleasure from a continuation of the History 
of Greensboro in the years to come as has been afforded 
this writer in the prosecution of the work. 




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